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Ekya / July 12, 2022 Posted by : administrator

Every Early Childhood Program should aim to provide overall, holistic development of children and consider all of the developmental domains while planning learning experiences- the physical and motor development, the cognitive and language development, and social-emotional development.

The main objective of the Ekya Early Years Program is to promote sustained, healthy development of children in the age range of 2.5- 5.5 years, and to prepare them for later school years with a strong foundation for learning. In order to realize these objectives, our Early Years curriculum is designed around seven domains: Literacy and Language, Numeracy and Mathematics, Quest, The Arts- Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Education, and Social and Emotional approaches to learning.

Ekya School’s Literacy and Language Curriculum Framework aims to develop receptive and expressive language, and awareness of print and vocabulary. The curriculum is designed to ensure that skills of reading and listening (receptive), and speaking and writing (expressive) are well integrated. The Numeracy and Mathematics Curriculum, and our Quest program is also designed such that it encourages students to talk about their understanding.

While designing an Early Years curriculum, certain limitations of virtual learning (learning through laptops, phones) like lack of peer interaction, lack of outdoor activities, increased screen time were well taken into consideration. And, thus during the pandemic and the planning for virtual school, it was important to design programs that encourage students to ‘speak’, ‘talk’, ‘describe’, and ‘share’ their experiences, thoughts, feelings and opinions. We encourage students talking to their teachers, and also students talking to each other.

To enhance speaking skills, we ensure some practices are in place. Some practices include

Circle time: Focussed circle time built around the skills of listening, speaking, looking and thinking. Circle time sessions are designed to stimulate curiosity and creative imagination, and to promote self-expression where students are provided opportunities to express their thoughts, feelings and opinions. For example, asking students to complete the sentence, ‘I am happy when….’ with what is true to their experiences. Use of such speaking stems, and sentence starters also help provide speaking opportunities to students. We consider ‘circle time’ as significant to ‘connect’ with students, and to provide child-friendly space where students feel free to talk, and where they feel that they are being seen, heard and met, thus fostering a sense of belongingness and connectedness.

In our Early Years classrooms, during this session the students get opportunities to hone their speaking skills by sharing about their day or the topic of the day. At the end of each month students even take part in programs like ‘Vocab week’ wherein the teachers present new words related to the topics taught to children to expand their vocabulary and let them build their language skills.

Phonics program:Learning Phonics includes an understanding of the relationships between the sounds of our language and the patterns of letters used to represent those sounds when reading and writing. Through our phonics program, students acquire skills to identify and relate letters with their sounds in the text, relate letters/words/sentences with pictures, practice writing by drawing starting strokes of each letter and so on and so forth. We learn phonics in context using meaningful and engaging texts, also ensuring that learning is fun and multi-sensory. The skills are revisited over and over again using diverse texts. This gives students enough exposure to practice sounding out letters, and constructing words and sentences, and even stories and rhymes.

Through our language program, students are encouraged to talk about the story they read.

Our Literacy and Language program is such that it provides ample opportunities for students to ‘speak’ and ‘share their thoughts and opinions. For example students are encouraged to retell the story in their own words, using puppetry and other techniques.

Levelled Reading Program provides students with a variety of reading experiences, and inculcates love for reading. The program helps enrich their vocabulary, and enable students to become independent readers. Reading to themselves, or Reading to parents also provide students with reading and speaking opportunities as they read aloud, and talk about the story read. It allows students to practice sounding out letters, blending letters to make words, and construct their own words and sentences, as they go about reading books.

In the classroom, during Reading classes students read a book sitting on the ‘Author’s chair’ which is designed by the students themselves and their peers listen to the reading.  At the end of the class other students question the reader about the story itself. Students first start by revising to read sight words and then start framing sentences orally. Picture reading is done at the beginning of the academic year.

Show and Tell: It has been observed that the practice of ‘Show and Tell’ has contributed significantly to language development. Show and Tell require students to show a particular object of significance, or a book, or an experience, and ‘talk’ about it. Being a part of the Show and Tell audience is important too where students listen closely to each other, ask questions and make comments.

In our classrooms, students bring an object related to a topic like- events, monuments, personal pictures and talk about it. The questioning and discussion technique plays a vital role in listening and speaking skills here. Each child is given an opportunity to speak. The early stages of show and tell begin with a limited number of sentences and later develop the confidence to speak elaborately. Students are given a time limit of 3 to 5 minutes. The platform gives them the space to speak confidently during various events conducted in the School like speaking in assemblies or presenting their work during a parent event.

Asking open-ended questions, using cues and prompts: During Literacy and Language class, or Numeracy and Mathematics class, or during Quest, asking open-ended questions encourage students to think aloud and hold conversations. Open-ended questions are those questions that have more than one right answer, and those that can be answered in many different ways. Such questions stimulate more language use, encourage creative imagination and thinking, and open up conversations.

Self expression and creative expression is also nurtured through ‘writing’ and ‘drawing’. Students are encouraged to draw out their experiences, their opinions on stories read. After writing or drawing, students are further encouraged to show and describe their work. This gives them opportunities to ‘explain’ and ‘describe’ what they have drawn, ‘share’ why they have drawn it, thus ample speaking opportunities.


Students get opportunities to assume different roles like that of community helpers during Role Play during their Quest class. This gives them exposure to be their creative selves, dress themselves according to the character chosen, and act bringing in their own dialogues!

Using a variety of instructional tools and strategies: We bring in certain tools and strategies across the learning areas, to engage students in learning processes, to enhance speaking, and to also make learning fun! For example, using graphic organizers like the concept map and KWL charts, using learning tools like  See Think Wonder, Turn and Talk, all of which provide ample speaking opportunities.

By the end of the year, through our robust program, our students make considerable progress in their language and communication skills.

Ms Pooja Maggu,

Instructional Designer, Early Years Program

Ekya Learning Centre, Ekya Schools.

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Ekya / May 08, 2024

15 English Language Mistakes That You Should Avoid

Although English is a funny language, it has become a global language. It is one of the highest-speaking languages in the world. And to effectively communicate in English is crucial in today’s time. For students, parents, and professionals alike, speaking English confidently and correctly is a necessary skill.  However, speaking in English can be tough, especially for beginners. It takes confidence and knowledge to put sentences together and express your ideas in a language that might not feel comfortable yet. Even as you get better, there are still some common errors in the English language that can sneak into your speech. Most of them aren't a big deal, but sometimes they can cause misunderstandings.  As one of the best CBSE Schools in Bangalore, we’ve identified fifteen common English language mistakes and give you tips on how to fix them, so your next conversation can go more smoothly. 

Not Speaking Enough

One common mistake is not speaking English enough. Many students feel shy to speak English at first, but speaking is one of the best ways to improve your command over the language. Imagine a cricket player who only watches others play but never picks up a bat themselves. They would never get better. The same goes for English. So, don't be afraid to use your voice. Talk with friends, ask questions to teachers in English, or even practice speaking to yourself. The more you speak, the better you'll get. 

Translating from Your Native Language

A common error in the English language many students make is trying to directly translate their thoughts from their native language into English. This is a problem because translations are rarely exact and it takes longer for your brain to do the work. Even if your English is basic, don't worry. Use the expressions and phrases you have learned. Practice using new expressions so they become a part of your regular vocabulary.. 

Emphasizing The Wrong Syllable

Another tricky English language error is emphasizing the wrong syllable. It's like singing a song out of tune. For example, "import" is pronounced as "im-PORT" not "IM-port." Another one is "address" which is pronounced as "a-DRESS" not "AD-dress." These little changes in emphasis can change the meaning of words and make it hard for others to understand.  To improve this, listen carefully to your teachers and make note of how they say the word. The best ICSE schools in Bangalore prioritize proper syllable emphasis in spoken and written English, incorporating it into the grammar lessons. Additionally, you can watch English movies, sitcoms, or cartoons to mimic how they emphasize the syllable. 

Pronouncing Sounds That Aren’t There

Pronouncing sounds that aren't there is a common mistake in English. It happens when we add extra sounds to words. For example, saying "aks" instead of "ask". To avoid this, we need to pronounce words correctly and not add any extra or unnecessary sounds.

Overuse of “Will” for Future

This is one of the most common English grammar mistakes. A lot of students rely too much on the word “will” when composing future sentences. While it may seem like the easiest option, using the more versatile structure of "going to + base form" is actually more appropriate in many situations.  "Will" is best suited for promises, spontaneous decisions, predictions, and future actions beyond the speaker's control. However, when discussing plans for the future, it is more accurate to use "going to". For instance, instead of saying "Tomorrow I will go to the bank," it is correct to say "Tomorrow I am going to the bank."

Adding Unnecessary Words and Missing Necessary Words

Another common English Grammar mistakes that students often make are adding unnecessary words or leaving out necessary ones. These errors can make sentences sound confusing or change their meaning completely. For example, saying "I am agree with you" is incorrect because the verb "agree" doesn't need the helping verb "am" before it.  On the other hand, forgetting a necessary word can also lead to problems. For instance, saying "I looking for a bus to the city center" is incorrect because the word "am" is missing. When talking about something happening right now, we use the Present Continuous tense by adding "am," "is," or "are" before the verb, along with the suffix "-ing." So, a correct version of the sentence would be "I am looking for a bus to the city center." Remember, it's important to use the correct words and structure so that your meaning is clear. 

Saying Incorrect Negative Sentences

Students often make mistakes when forming negative sentences. For instance, saying “I no like pizza" instead of "I don't like pizza." In the Present Simple, to create a negative sentence, we need to use "don't" or "doesn't" before the verb.  It's also important to remember that after "he," "she," or "it," we should use "doesn't" and remove the "-s" ending from the verb. For example, instead of saying "He's not wanting to go," the correct phrasing is "He doesn't want to go." 
  • Using the Wrong Word Order in Questions 
Using the incorrect word order in questions is another common English language mistake. For instance, asking "What you are doing now?" instead of the correct form, "What are you doing now?".  Remember word order is crucial in the English language. In questions, following this pattern is necessary: question word (what) + auxiliary verb (are) + subject (you) + verb (doing) + complement, time, place (now).  Top schools in Bangalore, like Ekya Schools, emphasize the importance of students asking questions in English and providing corrections when necessary. 

Not Using Adverbs

Many beginners don’t use adverbs in their speech. Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. They add more details to a sentence and make it more interesting. For example, instead of saying "he ran fast," we can say "he ran quickly." Adverbs help us paint a clearer picture of what is happening. So don't forget to use adverbs in your speech to make it livelier and more descriptive.

 Missing Comma in a Compound Sentence

Not using commas or pauses in a sentence while talking or writing can lead to confusion. It becomes difficult to distinguish between different thoughts or ideas, making the overall communication less clear. A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction like "and" or "but."  For example, instead of saying "I went to the store and I bought some apples," we should say "I went to the store, and bought some apples." By using a comma, we can indicate the pause between the two independent clauses. This helps our listeners understand our thoughts and ideas more effectively. So, don't forget to include commas in compound sentences when you're speaking or even writing. 

Faulty sentence structure

Faulty sentence structure is a common English language error that arises when a sentence is not properly constructed. This can make the sentence difficult to read and understand. An example of this error is using too many commas, which can make a sentence disjointed and confusing. Another example is failing to use proper subject-verb agreement, which can make a sentence grammatically incorrect. To avoid this error, it's important to practice constructing sentences with clarity and precision. 

Lack of pronoun

A common error in English is forgetting to use pronouns. Pronouns replace nouns to avoid repetition. For example, instead of saying "John went to the store," just say "He went to the store." Remember to use pronouns like he, she, it, they, we, etc. 

Unnecessary Shift in Verb Tense

It occurs when there is an inconsistent change in verb tense within a sentence, paragraph, or passage. This can confuse the reader and disrupt the flow of the writing. To avoid this error, you should ensure that you maintain a consistent verb tense, making sure that all verbs match in past, present, or future tense. 

nnecessary or Missing Apostrophe 

An unnecessary or Missing Apostrophe is another common error. For example, "it's" is a contraction of "it is" and should not be used to show possession. Instead, "its" without an apostrophe indicates possession. Missing apostrophes result in incorrect pluralization, such as "apple's" instead of "apples".  

Poorly Integrated Quotation

Lastly, poorly Integrated Quotation is a common English grammar mistake. It happens when a quote is not smoothly integrated into a sentence.  For example, "She said, 'I like pizza.' instead of 'She said that she likes pizza.' To fix it, we need to integrate the quote correctly into the sentence. 

It is okay to make mistakes while learning. However, the key is to learn from those mistakes and continuously improve. Learning English may be challenging, but the rewards it brings are immeasurable. By being mindful of grammar mistakes and actively working to avoid them, you can enhance your fluency and communication skills.  So, embrace the learning journey, avoid common English language mistakes, and watch yourself grow more confident and fluent in English.  For exceptional mastery over English , consider Ekya Schools, one the best CBSE schools in Bangalore. Call 080-49609096 for more information about admissions.     

Ekya / May 07, 2024

What Is IGCSE And Is It the Right Choice for My Child?

Every parent wants their child to have the best education, you are no different. However, when finding the right school for your child, you are often presented with a plethora of options. One such option that has grown in popularity in recent years is the IGCSE Schools in Bangalore. It is a globally recognized board and its curriculum is designed to foster holistic growth among students.  As one of the top IGCSE schools in Bangalore, we will explain what IGCSE is and help you decide if IGCSE schools are suitable for your child.

What is IGCSE?

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an internationally recognized board created by the University of Cambridge in England. It caters to 14–16 year olds (usually grades 9-10) and prepares them for further university studies worldwide. IGCSE courses offer a rich curriculum that tailors to individual strengths and nurtures the skills and competencies of students. Here are some of the benefits of IGCSE schools for your child.

Student-Centric Approach

The IGCSE curriculum is student-centric and fosters creativity. Teachers and students contribute equally to the class, making it an enriching experience. Learning is practical, allowing students to understand concepts better through real-life applications. IGCSE schools encourage students to ask questions, share ideas, and learn collaboratively with their peers. This approach nurtures logical and creative thinking skills in students. 

Preparing for the Universities

One of the major advantages of joining IGCSE schools is that the students here are well-prepared for further studies. This is made possible by the extensive knowledge and benefits that come from a globally standardized education. The students are encouraged to become independent thinkers and learners which is crucial for university studies. IGCSE schools focus on understanding and grasping the concepts rather than just memorizing. These are the traits most universities look for in a student. 

A Community Worldwide

The IGCSE program brings together students from all over the world in a global community. Children learn how to be inclusive and empathetic towards different people and cultures. This helps them develop a broad perspective. The program also allows each child to become a part of a diverse and comprehensive global community.

Inquiry-Based Learning

IGCSE courses foster curiosity in students by emphasizing real-life experiences, exploration, and expression. This encourages children to ask questions and research answers, helping them gain a better understanding of their communities and the world around them.

Rigorous Assessments

Top IGCSE schools in Bangalore such as Ekya Schools offer a rich experience for students with thought-provoking assessments. These include a variety of modes such as oral, written, coursework, and practical assessments. These assessments offer questions of different difficulty levels, enabling students to challenge themselves and discover their strengths and weaknesses. By instilling confidence and boosting morale, the IGCSE curriculum empowers students to plan their future educational journeys. 

Choice of Subjects that Cater to Different Abilities

The IGCSE subjects are designed to meet the needs of different students. With over 70 subjects to choose from, including 30 languages, schools can offer a combination that suits each student. Students must select at least 5 subjects, which include: 
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Humanities and Social Science
  • Languages
  • Creative, Technical, and Vocational Subjects Students also have a wide range of 30 languages to choose from, including their mother tongue.

Recognized by Universities Across the World

The IGCSE is the most recognized examination qualification across the world. Students with these qualifications are accepted into several countries like the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. Many universities acknowledge and accept the IGCSE curriculum as part of their entrance criteria. The IGCSE opens up opportunities for further vocational education and serves as a strong foundation for employment. Students with IGCSE backgrounds have the necessary abilities that employers value in potential employees.

In conclusion, choosing the best school for your child can be a daunting task considering the number of options today. However, if you think a strong syllabus and robust curriculum are best for your child, IGCSE schools are the way to go. To find the best IGCSE schools near Bannerghatta Road, look no further than Ekya Schools in JP Nagar. Our goal is to give students a well-rounded education that nurtures critical thinking, and creativity along with academic excellence.Join us and allow your child to delve into the stimulating realm of IGCSE subjects, nurturing their personal growth and development along the way.. We're here to shape future leaders with an inclusive and inspiring learning environment.      

Ekya / May 06, 2024

Common Mistakes When Making A Class Presentation

A successful school presentation demands a lot more than just good content. Presentations are more about expressing and explaining things in a creative manner which involves two important parts- the content in an understandable form and its way of presenting it. The second involves speaking skills, presentation skills, voice modulation, and more. Many aspects of class presentation should be taken into consideration. However, there are a few common mistakes that are often committed during its preparation: 

Not Doing Your Research

Whatever topic you choose to present, you need to have a good knowledge about it. Well, that will only come with good research skills. You can do that by getting help from your teacher, the school library, or the Internet. Research not only helps you with better presentation but will also prepare you to answer the questions asked during the question hour.  

Not Making a Proper Introduction

 Whether the presentation is in front of a small group or you are representing your school, a small introduction about yourself along with the topic’s introduction is a must. This not only gives you a great start but also gives the audience an idea of what the presentation is about. To make your introduction a bit more interesting, you can start the presentation with a quote or some statistics to grab attention. 

Lack of preparation for the presentation

Not preparing well before the presentation day may put you in a difficult spot. It is possible that you will present well but you are internally not satisfied with your performance. Well, one of the best ways to prepare is to at least go through the content twice. Practice in front of the mirror or ask your parents to be the audience during the preparations. This way, you will get to know your weak areas and work more on them. You will be fully prepared to capture the attention of the audience with your confidence and speaking skills. 

Confident Body Language

Confidence is the key to a good presentation. It is not something that will develop overnight, we need to work on it. As per a study, poor body language affects your confidence. You need to understand that your language speaks a lot about your personality. With good content and strong body language, confidence reflects automatically. For class presentations, you can practise hand movements and voice modulation. Another important point that should not be ignored is maintaining eye contact with the audience. Before the final presentation day, it is advisable to practice in front of a mirror.

Not Being Engaging

 If you want your audience to understand the presentation well, then keep it engaging. A presentation full of text will make it boring so, to keep a balance between the infographics and text to make it more interesting and engaging. If possible, minutes of video related to your topic. This will keep your audience entertained. Remember whenever on stage  it is your responsibility to keep your audience engaged sensibly without going off-track. 

Inconsistent Slides

 Presenting slides in a good way demands a perfect framework that involves a lot of things and often focusing on one aspect might lead to ignoring others. Here are a few common slide mistakes made during the presentation. 
  1. Overcrowding the slides: It is one of the most common presentation mistakes often committed by students. You need to understand that for presentation “less is more” fits perfectly. Instead of too much text, visuals should be used. Instead of paragraphs, pointers should be used. Using different colours also makes the presentation interesting.
  2. Reading directly from the slides: Reading directly from the slides only projects you as underconfident and unprepared. Although it might seem a little tempting and an easier option, the best is to make small pointers of important topics on which you want to talk.
  3. Complicated data: Data should be presented in a way that the written content becomes more understandable. For this Pie charts or bar graphs in different colours can be used. 
  4. Not maintaining the hierarchy: Arranging the slides haphazardly
  5.  only confuses the students. It will distract them as there will be less clarity regarding the points. 

Going Off-Topic

Many times you might go off-topic to make your point more clear during the presentation. But as a presenter, you need to understand that class presentations and question sessions should be done within a time limit. For this students need to maintain the flow as per the hierarchy and should have an idea about which points need more explanation than the others. This will only come with a few practice sessions before your final day. 

Not being prepared for feedback and questions

 Once you finish your presentation, allow your audience to put their doubts in front of you. This way not only will your audience get a chance to clarify their doubts but you will also learn to tackle difficult questions. Sometimes, if you have no answer or are in doubt about the question, it is ok to accept and consider returning with better research next time.  As a presenter, you need to keep the flow of your presentation in a positive direction and end it on a positive note. It leaves a good impression on the audience. Keeping a way forward slide at the end is a good way to end. You can also present an idea about a drive you want to start in your school related to some global concern. But make sure everything is related to your topic of presentation. Nothing should go off-track.

If you are searching the internet with terms like- the best schools in Bengaluru or ICSE schools in Bangalore, CBSE syllabus schools consider Ekya Schools. We are among the leading schools in Bangalore, offering the best quality education. Our Understanding by Design (UbD) framework curriculum is designed in a way that caters not just to the academic requirements of a student but simultaneously builds the overall personality of the student.  We encourage students to actively participate in co-curricular and other group activities like presentations. This helps in building confidence and developing skills like speaking skills, presentation skills, tackling questions, and more. We have expert faculty that prepares our students for holistic development. At Ekya, different school clubs also help students develop different skills such as music, dance, coding, debating, and more.  Hopefully, the above information will be helpful.      
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#ELCBlog: Socio-Emotional Learning By, Dr Pooja Maggu Instructional Designer, ELC, Ekya Schools

Social-Emotional Learning in Early Years Classroom @ Ekya Schools & CMR National Public School

Understanding Socio-Emotional Learning: The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL, 2020) defines Social Emotional Learning as a process through which individuals acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, regulate emotions, accomplish personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy, establish and maintain healthy relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. The five core SEL competencies namely, Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible decision-making. Simply put, SEL will help children gain understanding about themselves- who they are and what they are feeling, and the world around them- to use this understanding to build healthy relationships, regulate emotions, and make responsible and caring decisions. SEL will help children to develop the ability to empathize and consider multiple perspectives. However, it is also important to note that the development of these skills takes time, and the idea is certainly not to rush the child. We want to raise a happy child and not a hurried child. Social-Emotional Learning in classroom @ Ekya and CMR National Public School Our classroom culture is built around kindness and respect. When students see respect, empathy and kindness modelled, they are more likely to respond in similar ways. Social-Emotional Learning is well integrated into the Early Years Curriculum, and ‘Empathy’ is regarded as an important aspect. There are multiple opportunities in the curriculum to ensure that students develop the ability to see the world from different viewpoints, and understand the diversity of thoughts and feelings in the world. Students are encouraged to express their feeling creatively through a variety of artworks. Using circle time to support social and emotional learning. We have focussed circle time sessions built around social and emotional skills. Circle time makes for an important daily routine in an Early Years classroom, and we consider this time significant to ‘connect’ with students where they feel safe and valued. Circle time sessions are designed to stimulate curiosity and creative imagination, promote self-expression and develop social-emotional learning. The idea is to create a child-friendly space where students feel free to talk to their teachers and peers, and where they feel that they are being seen, heard and met, thus fostering a sense of belongingness. Opportunities to express through various curricular programs: Self-expression is the key to social-emotional learning. Our young ones are provided opportunities to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions and perspectives. Various self-expression strategies are being integrated into the classroom culture and the curriculum. Students are given statements like, ‘I am happy when…’ to complete it with what seems true to their experiences. They are given imaginary situations to explore, ‘If I were a butterfly..’ which encourages them to verbalize their imagination. Creative expression is also nurtured through ‘drawing’ and ‘writing’ where students are encouraged to draw out their experiences, feelings and opinions. They are also further encouraged to show and describe their drawings. Also, for students to develop the ability to sit, listen, and take turns in a group calls for several social and emotional skills, we had the Show and Tell time. During the show and tell hour, students are encouraged to play the role of an audience, patiently waiting for their turn, listening to their peers, asking questions, and sharing thoughts and ideas. The sessions are designed such that students get opportunities to talk about themselves. For example, asking them to show and talk about their self-portraits, artworks, artefacts; their favourite books, snacks, and help create awareness about themselves. Through the Quest Program, we aim to develop inquiry, and awareness of the physical, social, the natural world and a sense of self and respect for social diversity. They are encouraged to reflect and ask themselves questions like ‘Who am I?’, ‘How am I special?’, ‘What sets me apart from another and makes me unique?’ This enables them to define their strengths, discover likes and dislikes, and what makes them unique and special. They are encouraged to express their thoughts orally and through drawing, writing and role play. Here are some snapshots from the Quest classroom!           Using SEL in storytelling sessions: ‘The hare and the tortoise’- an infamous old fable that says, ‘slow and steady wins the race’ celebrates the winner and frowns upon the defeated one. The hare’s perspective is rarely considered. Questions such as, ‘How do you think the tortoise felt after winning the race?’’, ‘How do you think the hare felt after losing the race?’ encourages students to ‘empathize’ with the characters, look at the story from different perspectives, and build their own opinions. To this, a 4-year old child shared, “maybe, the hare is not like that in real life, maybe it was just a bad day” and that he would win the race if given another chance. This is how students are encouraged to build better perspectives and points of view versus focussing only on the ‘moral’ aspects of a story. A student constructed a story of his own and titled it, ‘A Boy Who Loves Papad’. The ‘boy’ in the story is aware of his food preferences and is involved in its making with her mother. He is also pictured sitting with the entire family for dinner.          Using instructional tools and strategies that encourage cooperation and teamwork: Being able to get along with friends is seen as an important developmental task for young students, and the use of instructional tools and strategies, across different learning areas, helps them to get along with each other, cooperate and work together on the same task, share and take turns, and develop healthy peer relationships at school. Using additional programs to talk about SEL: A program was designed to help students explore and think about different emotions and feelings. The aim was to help students become more aware of their own emotions and feelings, explore how likely they are to feel in different scenarios, explore how to help others deal with an uncomfortable emotion, and talk about their feelings and others. Students were encouraged to maintain a ‘feelings journal’, use a range of facial expressions and body language to act out different emotions and feelings, while also developing empathy and a language of prosocial behaviour       Here are some ways our parent partners can help develop Social Emotional Learning Skills at home: While the Early Years curriculum is expanded such that the social-emotional skills are well woven into the curriculum, it is equally important to extend it into the home. Partnering with parents will help us to be more effective in nurturing the whole child. Below are some of the ways you can help develop social and emotional skills in children. You may already be practising these at home, however, the idea is to be more mindful of the aspects of social-emotional learning which may otherwise go unnoticed. Use familial moments to help grow your child’s SEL skills organically. For example, while playing a board game, visiting the grocery store, responding to a family experience. 
  1. Listen closely and empathetically.By being  good listeners, we value children’s emotions, opinions and perspectives. It is important for the child to feel that they are being heard and that their feelings are valued. Learning to listen is also an important aspect of social-emotional learning. The model is a great listener so that the child can also imbibe the same.
  2. Read books together.Bring in a variety of storybooks with varying characters, plots and settings. Encourage your child to read along with you. Discuss the character’s feelings. Encourage students to guess how the character might be feeling in the story, and why. Ask questions like, ‘What do you think the lion is feeling right now?’, ‘How do you think the hare felt after losing the race?’, ‘What if you were the lion in the story?’, ‘What would you do differently?’ such that the child is encouraged to talk about different emotions and feelings. You can ask some more questions like, ‘How did the story make you feel?’, ‘What was the happiest part of the story?’, ‘What was the saddest part of the story?’
Read all kinds of stories, and not only the happy ones. Using storybooks as a medium to talk about different emotions, and would help develop empathy- the ability to imagine how others are feeling.
  1. Monitor what children watch and watchtogether if possible. It is important to be mindful of what students are exposed to, through the media. Choose cartoons, and other media sources carefully. Use this time to talk about emotions with your child. Ask how the characters feel. Figure out if the characters are happy, sad, scared, angry, annoyed, or irritated. Discuss a range of emotions. You can ask the same questions as given above, ‘How did this cartoon movie make you feel?’ etc. Bring in drama, and role plays
  2. Talk about feelings and emotions.‘How are you feeling today?’ Being able to ask and answer this question is a key stage in child development, and important for maintaining good relationships. Bring in the vocabulary of feelings in everyday conversations. For example, phrase your sentences like, ‘It feels good that….’, ‘It is sad that….’. Also, invite your child to describe their feelings. Acknowledge the emotions as they are. For example, say, ‘I am sad we can’t go out today. How about you?’ Experiencing and talking about difficult emotions is okay. Acknowledge your child’s feelings using statements like, ‘I can see that you’re feeling annoyed. I’d feel annoyed too if that happened to me’ 
  3. Draw Emotions. Encourage your child to draw certain emotions and feelings. Children express themselves through drawings in beautiful ways.Art is also a great way to relieve stress and allows one to express emotions healthily. For example, Can you draw how Satya felt when he went to the farm with his mother (taken from the storybook, Satya, watch out!). Newspapers and magazines can also be further explored for different emotional expressions.
  4. Play games. Play board games like carrom boards, snakes and ladders, monopoly, scramble etc that require the child to wait, take turns, cooperate with others, solve problems and more.
  5. Write journals. One way to encourage children to ‘journal’ is by modelling ‘journaling’. Keep a journal of your own. Document your thoughts and feelings, and encourage your child also to do the same. Make it an exciting project. Build a journal together. Ask, ‘What 3 things best describe you?’Encourage your child to journal their likes and dislikes. Ask your child to draw things that make them happy or bring them joy! Journals will lead them to self-discovery!
Dr Pooja Maggu Instructional Designer, Early Years Program Ekya Schools  

#TeacherBlogger: Singapore Math Methodology By,Teresa George Math Curriculum Designer, Ekya – CMR K 12 Schools

How do we approach Math @ Ekya Schools? At Ekya Schools, we believe that what we learn depends on how we learn. Our methodology and pedagogy is student centric and we believe that students learn best when they are an active part of the process.We structure all our programs to equip our students with 21st century skills along with the  required content knowledge. We use the Singapore Math Approach in teaching Math at primary and middle school level. This is a highly effective teaching methodology originally developed by Singapore’s Ministry of Education for Singapore public schools. The method has been widely adopted in various forms around the world. It is a teaching method based on the national mathematics curriculum used for kindergarten through sixth grade. Through this approach, students are able to develop critical thinking and mathematical mastery of their work. At the crux of this methodology is the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract learning method (C-P-A) in which lessons are taught through scaffolding and students learn how to problem solve with perseverance. This method also enables teachers to convey math concepts progressively from introduction to understanding to fluency. It is where content meets pedagogy. We aim to raise our student performance to the expected international levels. How does this Approach help students? Math, for the most part, has been memorizing some steps and procedures again and again. To make it challenging, the numbers were made bigger. Bigger the numbers, higher the challenge was the rationale given. That mind-set has now changed. We now believe that this is not challenging, instead, it is just tedious.  Singapore Math focuses on the Concrete – Pictorial - Abstract approach. This makes it easier to link ideas to the concepts. 
  • In the lower grades students use manipulatives (which can be everyday objects like paper clips, popsicle sticks, toy cubes etc) to build on their concepts.
  • Students form number bonds in their minds to perform basic addition and subtraction. 
  • Students get familiar with the bar model approach to solve multi-step word problems. This further helps them to visualize the solution in their mind. Being able to solve mentally is one of the skills a student masters.
  • Students are encouraged to write Math journals to articulate their understanding of math concepts. The use of these journals helps fill in the gaps in those understandings and supports metacognitive thinking to enhance understanding and application. 
We aim to equip students with sound concept development, critical thinking and efficient problem solving skills. What do our students learn in Math classes? Here are a few things we do in our classrooms:
  1. Allow students to work on non-routine problems to improve their reasoning abilities
  2. Encourage students to apply a variety of strategies to solve a problem
  3. Heuristics applicable to mathematical problem solving used are:
  • Look for patterns
  • Use guess-and-check
  • Make a systematic list
  • Make suppositions
  • Draw diagrams/Use models
  • Restate the problem in another way
  • Simplify the problem
  • Solve part of the problem
  • Think of a related problem/ Think and create a problem
  • Work backwards
  • Number bonds
  • Act it out
  • Use before after concept
[caption id="attachment_10294" align="alignnone" width="300"] Number Bonds[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10295" align="alignnone" width="284"] Hands on Activity[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10289" align="alignnone" width="289"] Guess and Check[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10290" align="alignnone" width="300"] Use Manipulatives[/caption] Teresa George Math Curriculum Designer Ekya - CMR K12 Schools

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