About This Blog

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I am an IB Educator, currently working as a PYP Coordinator in India.This blog is a space to explore thoughts as a teacher, a parent and a learner. I'm interested in different ways of imagining and realising education and present this blog as a platform to explore and share ideas.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Building a Learning Community: Involving Parents


With the heightened emphasis on the learning community in the International Baccalaureate's Enhanced PYP, we have been aiming to reach out to parents in various different ways at the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad, India. Adding to other long-standing engagements such as parent involvement in school events, participation as guest speakers and taking feedback through surveys and questionnaires, we have explored bringing parents on-board in some new ways of late. These include learning alongside their children, sharing their perspectives on our curriculum and contributing to our resource bank through item donation.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Snapshots of Play


Photo Credit: Mita Mohanty


In August of this year we launched our play initiative in the Junior School, building upon some earlier moves in this direction the previous academic year. Three months in, we can see some tangible successes. Dedicating the last lesson of the day to play - a time for curriculum outcomes to be explored explicitly through playful approaches - and also re-envisioning our lunchtime play has really made a difference.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Supporting Learners in Becoming Independent


Observing my own teaching approach develop over the years, I have seen myself move from fast-paced, highly structured lessons, packed with varied teacher-led learning engagements to slower, freer lessons in which students explore ideas at their individual pace, continually reflect on their learning and find which approaches to learning best suit themselves. I’m still on a journey with this but I think I’m gaining a much better understanding of how better to support my students to be successful, independent, learners.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Nature Tables



Bringing nature into our home is something which my son and I have always enjoyed and we take great pleasure in showing off our finds on a permanent nature table. Creating a designated area like this puts value on his curiosity and love of nature, on his choices as regards what and how things could be presented, plus it puts value on the items themselves.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Developing A Vision for Play Time


INSET Day of Outdoor Fun Begins

At the tail end of the last academic year I simultaneously launched the Loose Parts Playground and claimed and opened a large garden space for the Junior School. Both were an instant hit with the students. Along with many discussions and mini workshops on play last year, and the set-up of our maker space, we had begun, as a staff, to re-think our approach to play time.This August’s INSET provided me with the platform to share my vision of how we can really take play to the next level. 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Sedentary Activity Trends in Preschool Children


Of late, I have been reading a large amount of literature on the importance of play, outdoor learning and physical activity levels of children, but the findings referenced in the 2012 research study by Copeland, K. et al really made me stop and think hard: Children spend most (70%–83%) of their time being sedentary in child care—even when excluding time spent in naps and meals—and only spend 2% to 3% of the time in vigorous activities”. What irreparable damage are we doing to our young children, setting up such patterns of behaviour for their lives ahead?

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Equality for All


In this era of narrow-mindedness and fear-mongering, it is all the more important that educational establishments take on the responsibility of challenging the status quo and opening young minds to different versions of the same story.  I felt that our Junior School did just that this term by inviting a transgender woman in to speak to our students.  This may not seem such a big deal to some readers, but our school is situated in India, a country in which transgender people live almost exclusively on the margins of society and are frequently the subjects of abuse, discrimination and atrocities.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

No Chair Day



Browsing through the website of The Early Years Alliance, I came upon a piece by UK-based music and movement specialist, Helen Batteley (https://www.eyalliance.org.uk/music-and-movement-encouraging-physical-activity). She was advocating for ‘No Chair Day’, an initiative to provoke teachers to think about the importance of physical activity for children and about alternatives to sitting in classrooms. The simplicity of the campaign appealed to me and I floated the idea to the Junior School staff. To my great pleasure, many took up the challenge, pitching the idea to their students and brainstorming ways learning could be re-designed without the need for sitting.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Creation of a Children's Garden




I'd had my eye on a particular patch of greenery for quite some time and had been observing it through the seasonal changes to gauge its potential as a children’s garden. It sits at the end of the Junior School corridor but the puzzling fact that it was surrounded by a thick hedge meant that we couldn’t access it. A number of reasons why we couldn’t use it had been given, but only ever anecdotally and none of the reasons seemed insurmountable. So I designed a proposal as a part of an outdoor learning and play spaces revamp, got the go-ahead and, one fine day, a entrance way cut appeared in the hedge and we were allowed in!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Joining in with Global School Play Day

(https://www.facebook.com/globalschoolplayday/)


One of our new focus areas in our Junior School is that of play so I was really keen for us to take part in Global School Play Day this year. Each class from Grades 1-5 were involved, incorporating play into the school day in the form of free play and more teacher-led activities. 

This wonderful grassroots celebration of play really aims for children to be engaged in purely unstructured activities as this is increasingly stolen from them in our race for them to be achieving and busy the whole time. I took this as an opportunity to also encourage our teachers to come up with ways they could design play-based learning engagements during the day in addition to the free play. It was also another invitation for more movement-based and outdoor activities. 


Of course, the children had a really fun day, and the teachers also enjoyed the challenge too!


Friday, 1 February 2019

Loose Parts Playground Launch




This week sees the launch of our ‘loose parts playground’! I’ve been working on a re-vamp of our outdoor spaces with a focus on re-directing the way we play and learn in them. One initiative I have been keen to bring in is the concept of providing children with outdoor play items which will provoke creativity, new ways of using the body, teamwork and communication. These items will supplement the existing fixed-to-the-ground playground equipment pieces and will consist of collections of random items which children can use to build structures of their own choosing. Logs, planks of wood, tree branches, tyres and fabrics are just some of the things we are including in our loose parts playground.

Friday, 25 January 2019

An Enlightening Visit



For a teacher, a visit to another school always brings in fresh ideas and perspectives. This week I was privileged to visit a very special school indeed, a Waldorf school in Hyderabad, India. It is one of those schools where, as soon as you enter, you are aware of a tangible atmosphere or energy and, by the end of the visit, you feel slightly changed in some way. This school radiated a distinct feeling of calm and happiness and both the children and the staff welcomed us with smiles and openness.


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