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Ekya / April 28, 2018 Posted by : administrator

On our first edition of Parents of Ekya, we host Mr. Rajesh Soundararajan, parent of Krish of Grade 3 from Ekya School JP Nagar. Bang in the middle of the family’s summer travels when we got in touch with him, it was fitting for Mr. Rajesh to share with us his recommendations on how parents can make summer holidays productive for their children.

“We are nearly a month into our summer holidays. Before we know, it will be June and our children would be back to school. This routine happens each year without fail and yet many parents struggle to successfully engage their children during this time.

Children, on the other hand, are excited and are looking forward to this vacation the entire year. They are a bundle of energy, too much energy in case they are younger, for parents to handle. For working parents and homemakers alike, summer holiday translates to one thing – their immaculately planned daily routines going haywire. In fact, like some would say, this is that time of the year to be working on a double-shift, engaging the kids during the normal school hours and after.

Summer holidays mean different things to different people. For some, it would be time to go back to their hometowns, for others it is time to set out for their annual vacation. Yet for others, there are dozens of summer camps and they would enroll their child in one or many of those to keep them occupied.

And before you know it, the holidays have ended.

What do we do as parents? What do we want from our child during this period? What does the child want to learn? How can we gainfully engage them during this vacation? Should we even plan a summer vacation?

Such questions can open a lot of opportunities for us parents and our children. Here are a couple of ways you can go about deciding what to do:

  1. Start with your goal and work backwards.
  2. Pick an opportunity and run with it.
  3. Play it by the ear and just go without a plan.

If you chose #3, you may stop reading here. 🙂

One of the best ways to start is to have strongly defined goals and work towards them. On the other hand, if you do not know exactly what you want to do yet, keep a look-out for exciting opportunities, evaluate them, and go for the one that looks most interesting and useful.

Planning before the holidays begin

One of the best investments of time, well before the summer holidays begin, is to plan. The plan is to identify what we would want our children to learn, do or experience during holidays.

Write down your larger goal (*s)

One of the first things you should do is write down what you want out of these vacations, on a piece of paper. It might be one or a mix of multiple of this.

I want to create experiences for my child (and myself) like ……

I want to ensure that he/she catches up / moves to the next level on … sports activity, or music or….

I want him/her to get physically fit….

Or, I want our family and my child to use this time to engage with cousins, relatives, or grandparents.

Once the larger goals are written down, it is time to define finer details, exploring requirements and planning the route ahead.

Draw a schedule

Unlike school days, where a timetable is chalked up by the school, the summer-break schedule rests completely in the hands of the parents. Start by breaking the schedule up into weekly or daily or hourly objectives.

Based on what parent and child’s mutual interest are, you should be able to draw an eight-week timetable. I call it a timetable because it can be planned meticulously like the one in school. With a well-planned timetable and activities to do every day, it is highly possible that the summer-break will whisk away in a jiffy, leaving both the parent and children to ask, “Where did all the holidays go?“.

Summarise your experiences daily, weekly

Make your children responsible for their learnings and experiences and have them to share these often. A simple question like what they have learnt or enjoyed at the end of each day or the week is important as it helps in giving them a sense of progress or achievement.

At our home (we have three kids), on every weekend, we would sit and discuss how we are doing on our holidays and what we had done for the week. We would excitedly look forward to the next week’s plan and again share that experience that same week. I find that such engagements not only serve as a wonderful opportunity to bond with children but also bring them a sense of continuity and purpose.

Creating experiences

In case you want your child and you to share experiences of culture and travel, then it is important you plan what experiences and what culture are you going to seek during the break.

To quote a personal experience, in 2017 we went on a 49-day road trip, driving 10,000 km across North and West India. We travelled high altitudes of 12000 feet, along the border with Pakistan, sledged on the snow in Kashmir, experienced the heat of Rajasthan, stayed on a houseboat, a tent overlooking the Himalayas, a few homestays, and resorts. And when we were in the car for 200 odd hours, we played many games of wordplay, games and had extempore speeches. We never imagined that we could do this, but since we had already written down our goals, we could experience the rich cultures and places that India has to offer.Towards the end of this summer-break, we had planned a relaxed road trip to Bhutan and North East and here we are in 2018, looking forward to another exciting trip on the unchartered waters of the North East!

Here are some good starting points from the Internet

Happy holidays!”

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Ekya / April 03, 2024

The Power of Learning with Intent: A Guide to Purposeful Education

In a world brimming with information, the art of learning has evolved beyond the mere acquisition of facts. Learning with intent, a deliberate approach to education emphasises quality over quantity, depth over breadth, and purpose over passive absorption. It’s about cultivating a mindset that transforms knowledge into meaningful action and empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of the modern age effectively.

At its core, learning with intent involves setting clear objectives and actively engaging with the subject matter. Whether exploring a new language, delving into scientific principles, or honing a creative skill, intentionality infuses each learning endeavour with purpose and direction. As Albert Einstein aptly said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." This quote amplifies the importance of active participation and hands-on learning, highlighting that true understanding arises from deliberate engagement with the material.

Furthermore, engaging actively with the material is paramount. Embrace challenges and embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth. This proactive approach not only deepens your understanding but also cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for success in any field.

Moreover, learning with intent emphasises relevance and applicability. Seek out opportunities to apply newfound knowledge in real-world scenarios, bridging the gap between theory and practice. By contextualising learning within your personal or professional sphere, you enhance its significance and utility, making it more likely to stick.

In conclusion, learning with intent is a transformative approach that transcends traditional notions of education. By setting clear objectives, engaging actively, prioritising relevance, and fostering a growth mindset, individuals can harness the full potential of learning to achieve their goals and thrive in an ever-changing world. So, embark on your learning journey with purpose, and let each lesson propel you towards a brighter, more fulfilling future.

By Sweta Pradeep Rao

Senior English Educator

Ekya School JP Nagar

Ekya / April 02, 2024

Gadget-free Summer Break

With summer vacation around, I urge parents to explore various ways to facilitate children to make healthy choices during their vacation time.

Last week, when we asked our Early Years to visualise their characters and create a story, most of them came up with stories about ghosts and monsters attacking others.  When we had conversations about what gave them this idea, we understood that these story ideas emanated from their online games. While gaming per se develops specific skills and requires focus, it also stifles the imagination of young children. Since it is visually appealing, children tend to remember those images in their heads all the time.

I often see parents providing very young children (1 year to 3 year olds)  with gadgets as the means to keep children engaged and entertained. I see children watching phones in the waiting areas of clinics, hospitals, school lobbies and banks.

This brings us to a fundamental question “ Should children be engaged by parents all the time?” Not necessarily. What is likely to happen if children were not handed over gadgets at the waiting lounges? What would they do? Some of them may cry, some may throw a loud tantrum, and some may crib. If parents show resilience and allow children to settle down themselves, they will soon find ways to keep themselves engaged. Likewise, during summer vacation. What if this is a “no gadget” vacation and parents do not take up the responsibility to engage their children? What would children do? How can parents show resilience here and facilitate children to make healthy choices? I leave the readers with this thought for this summer vacation.

Mathangi R,

Head of School,

Ekya NICE Road.

Ekya / April 02, 2024

The Eye of the Storm

In the hushed embrace of an Indian evening, our journey began, a symphony of anticipation orchestrated by the hum of jet engines and the flutter of boarding passes. The promise of adventure beckoned from distant shores as we boarded our flight bound for the United Kingdom, our hearts aflutter with dreams of far-off lands and newfound horizons. But as we soared through the velvet sky, a foreboding shadow loomed on the horizon, a harbinger of the chaos that was soon to unfold. In the blink of an eye, the tranquil serenity of our airborne sanctuary was shattered by a deafening crack, a burst of purple lightning that danced across the heavens with an otherworldly fervour. The air crackled with electricity as the plane shuddered beneath the force of the storm, its metal frame quivering in defiance against the tempestuous onslaught. And then, in a heart-stopping moment of sheer terror, the heavens unleashed their fury upon us, casting our fragile vessel into a maelstrom of chaos and uncertainty. The sky darkened to a shade of ominous charcoal as the winds howled with a primal ferocity, tearing at the wings of our faltering craft with savage intent. The cabin was awash with panicked cries and frantic prayers as we clung to our seats with white-knuckled desperation, each passing moment stretching into eternity.

And then, as if mocking our feeble attempts at control, the plane tilted almost 180 degrees, its nose plummeting towards the earth with a sickening lurch. Time seemed to stand still as we hurtled towards the ground, our fate hanging in the balance as the world spun wildly out of control. But just when all hope seemed lost, a glimmer of salvation emerged from the chaos, a beacon of light amidst the encroaching darkness. With a mighty roar, the engines surged to life once more, their thunderous symphony drowning out the cacophony of the storm as we clawed our way back from the brink of oblivion. As the storm clouds parted and the sun cast its golden rays upon the horizon, we emerged battered but unbroken, our spirits buoyed by the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. And though our journey had been fraught with peril and uncertainty, we emerged from the crucible of the skies stronger and more resilient than ever before. For in the crucible of adversity, we discovered the true measure of our strength, our courage, and our unwavering determination to defy the odds and chart our course through the tempestuous seas of life. As we touched down on solid ground once more, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of the world around us, a testament to the indomitable spirit of the human soul.

Arjun Narasimhan Kuppuswamy

Grade 8C

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Work Exposure Programme at Ekya Schools – Key Education Foundation

We are a couple of weeks into the Work Exposure Program (WEP) at Ekya Schools and sister institution CMR National Public School. Our team sat down with Ms. Sripriya S from Grade 10 of Ekya School ITPL, to discuss her experience so far with the internship and how her summer has been unfolding with her time at the WEP. Why did you opt for our Work Exposure Program? What was going on your mind while applying? I was excited at the prospect of using my summer break to learn something new. When the programme was announced in class, I saw it as an opportunity to gain real-world experience over the usual classroom learning. At the internship, we are on our own, being responsible and accountable, while learning from the individuals we are working with. To apply, each of us had to submit our resumes. At 15 years of age, I don’t think anyone of us had one. I had mine ready after three hours of figuring out what could go in it. The questions that followed the submission were fun; all personality based, which really helped me understand who I was as a person. I was impressed with the list of companies we could apply to; each company had a particular skill set they were looking for. Some profiles required us to code; a couple of them were onsite jobs while a few worked on empathy and service. Where are you interning currently? I am interning at Key Education Foundation. Their objective is simple – they want to aid low budget schools with early childhood education. This is through textbooks, supplies, resource materials – they help however they can. On our first day, we learned that early education is when a child’s learning ability is cemented and in a lot of such schools, the quality of education is below par. My friends and I also got to know that a lot of the children at such schools come from rural and underprivileged communities. In most cases, they are from families with abusive parents and sole breadwinners who don’t participate in their child’s learning once he/she is back home from school, this being at an age when the child needs the parent’s attention to learn better. With KEF, we are currently identifying ways through which parents can reinforce what their children are studying at school. This way learning isn’t just restricted to a school setting but also at their homes. How has your first couple of weeks been? Take us through your experience. I got to meet interesting people from the time I got here, each one of them driven towards the objective of improving the education provided for these children. In our first week, we visited Nirmala Vidhyalaya, a small school that could easily be mistaken for a modest household, tucked away inside Koramangala, sandwiched by a slum community. Having been divided into groups, we were assigned classes to observe and be part of. Deepthi and I got to sit with the nursery class of 33 students, cramped at the back of a small room. We noticed how the class was run and how the lessons were being taught.  The teacher kept switching between four regional languages to ensure that her children were listening to her. We recollected this and some other observations when we had our reflection sessions with our fellow interns and KEF members. During these open discussions, everybody shares their takeaway from the day’s work, also affirming each other’s efforts. Over the next few days, we got to interact with the children, organizing several activities, like those at summer camp. From playing musical chairs and solving puzzles to learning rhymes, the children were overjoyed to have us over, their energy and enthusiasm contagious! We distributed papers and asked the children to draw their dreams out. One kid drew a cow on the field and said he’d own the cow to get free milk. Another drew a big cake and said he would buy the cake and eat it after he finished school. A few of them even drew concrete houses, telling us that they wanted to own one. We were incredibly touched.
They were such a friendly bunch. I enjoyed every minute of it. I wanted to keep teaching them. I felt like they were my class. We learnt their names, what their parents do for a living, where they live. They gave us feedback and told us what they wanted to play the next day. It was a heart-warming experience.
What do you look forward to in the coming weeks at the Internship? Our team of interns is currently working on ideas that can help facilitate quality early education at such schools and communities. We are looking at themes, chalking out concepts, curating videos and resource materials. Our key focus will be on 5 elements - Concepts, Content, Costs, Time and Language - our efforts will be 'language-less' so that parents from different language-speaking communities can consume our content. I will be working on simple short videos that will assist parents to involve their children in fun activities at home, those that will reinforce what they learn in school – number games, alphabet recall, colour identification and like.
For example, we designed a missing-number activity for the kids with ice-cream sticks and clips. They have to match the missing number with the corresponding clip. Parents can organize such activities at home, with spoons or any other material available. This awareness is missing and we intend to address it.
The next couple of weeks will be exciting as we will be visiting a video studio to learn about editing, lighting and more. Bidding goodbye to the little ones at the school wasn’t easy but we got to experience how learning takes place in their environment. I can’t wait to make these videos for them and their parents and make learning fun
Sripriya is one of the 8 children from Ekya Schools and CMR National Public School who is interning at the Key Education Foundation through our Work Exposure Programme.

Work Exposure Programme at Ekya Schools – The Actors Collective

Work Exposure Programme is our summer internship initiative at Ekya and sister institution CMR National Public School, to help senior school students groom their problem-solving skills, adaptability, emotional intelligence, resilience and the ability to collaborate. With the WEP drawing to a close, we sit with Rajkaushik Ramkumar of Grade 11 from Ekya School ITPL, as he shares his account from his internship at The Actors Collective. What was going on your mind while applying for the WEP? Why did you choose The Actors Collective? I was comfortable with the application process – simple and to the point; the questions asked were direct and easy to answer. What I liked about the whole thing was the choices we had with our internships; each company was well defined and had objectives that helped me while applying. Looking through the options available, I tried my luck at three programmes – The Actors Collective, Bangalore Football Club and FonePaisa. I have always had an affinity towards theatre. I love to act and was interested in spending my summer at a programme that would help me take a step towards the art. Initially, I was expecting to take a technical role at The Actors Collective, along the lines of event management. But what I had in store for the next three weeks had me completely in surprise. Take us through your experience at The Actors Collective. During the first week of our internship, the five of us got to meet Mr. Rajesh and the folks from The Actor’s Collective. We were given two objectives, one was to take five photographs that depict different moods and the other was to watch a live action play. Over the course of the week, we met to discuss the photographs that we had taken, dissecting each emotion that we managed to capture. It was an eye-opening experience for me, to understand how much goes into understanding a facial expression or an abstract photograph. We got to understand the working of The Actors Collective, their specialization in Playback Theatre and how they teach the art form at their workshops. We were introduced to basic concepts during the second week, having met with a couple of actors from the Collective at Cubbon Park to practice playback theatre with them. At the end of the session, we were briefed about the financial model and how this company of actors arranged for shows across the country.   We visited Diya Ghar, an NGO for children from underprivileged and lower-economic communities. The idea behind this visit was to understand the role of empathy, while also interacting with the children. I got to teach them the alphabet and a couple of rhymes. It was a humbling experience for me – I realized that there things that are bigger than us that we often take for granted. During our third week, we attended a workshop on playback theatre, learning more about the two forms of Playback, Conflict and Tableau. We got to practice with the actors from the Collective, getting advice, tips and critique on our expressions, posture and other techniques. Towards the end of our internship, we spent our time at the Spastic Society of Karnataka. Here we met children suffering from Down’s Syndrome and helped them with their preparation for a skit they were putting up. They didn’t let their disability hinder their excitement or the fun they had and it left a big impact on me.   Did you enjoy your time with The Actors Collective? What do you think is the key learning from this experience? This internship programme has been an experience I will never forget. I learned a form of theatre, I got to meet actors and learn from them, I understood how to pursue theatre and be part of a troupe, I met underprivileged children and those with disability, helping them, in whatever way I can. It has been a range of emotions for me, but the three key takeaways from my time with the Actors Collective are, Teamwork: I realized the importance of working together. Whether it was performing Playback or a daily task of reaching a location with the other interns, I learnt that working as a team can take anyone far in what they do. There is no right or wrong: Every decision made has its own justification. Everyone has a different view or perspective on things, which makes these decisions neither right nor wrong. There are things bigger than me:  My three weeks has taught me that I need to appreciate and be thankful for everything is good in my life and that there are always things bigger than us. I will definitely see my problems in a different light after this internship. The workshop also helped, as I can act out different elements of a situation and find out where the core problem of the situation is. In the beginning, I thought the programme would turn out to be objective, with a set of tasks to complete. It turned out to be an experience after another experience. Mr. Rajesh kept giving us ideas and things to do. The actors made sure we were comfortable and answered every question we put to them. I can’t wait to see them again, at one of their performances.
Rajkaushik is one of the 3 children from Ekya Schools and CMR National Public School who is interning at The Actors Collective through our Work Exposure Programme.

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