Lakshmi with the students of the Royal City School in Dharavi doing an action song. The students are not used to it yet as it is their first week back in school. Last week we blogged about the inauguration of the new English Language Support Program at the Royal City School in Dharavi. To make you understand the whole project a little bit better we have interviewed the ELS Program Manager Lakshmi Vishwanatham who has been with Reality Gives since three years.
Why do you think is the community of Dharavi is in need of an English Language Support Program?
The community looks at English as a career defining path where their children will have access to job opportunities, not just on the domestic but also the global market. Parents of students at vernacular schools hope that their kids also get a chance to compete with students from English medium schools as they aren’t able to afford the higher school fees.
Who runs the project?
The staff who conducts the program are from the community and exclusively trained in a child-centred learning approach of Muktangan. Their origin makes it easy for them to be in direct contact with the parents which gives them the opportunity to understand the children, ethos and culture of the community fully.
What makes the program special?
Reality Gives does not just dole out the program mechanically. A lot of effort goes into connecting with the community. Also we give a significant important to the E.Q. (emotional quotient) rather than I.Q. Learning is child centred , group centred and joyful.
What was the biggest achievement of the program since you started in 2010?
While supporting the grades 1, 2 and 3 at the Marathi medium school in Dharavi, the teachers conducted a project on animals and greenery. It showcased the talents of the children using the medium of active experimental learning in role plays, drama, action songs, group and individual activities. It was a treat to watch the children in their elements, totally confident and using English to communicate to the guests that have come for the presentation.
How will the future of the program look like?
A private but government recognised school has approached Reality Gives to bring improvement in the existing school system. In the school year 2013/14 we will teach 240 students in pre-school and first grade. We are especially happy to be able to have an impact on the children in their most impressionable years of preschool. Every year we will add one more grade. We have the ambition to involve the new community into other community projects run by us and other organisations.