We designed a curriculum specifically for the learning needs of pre-primary children. It is a child-centred, activity-based curriculum for children's holistic development. The curriculum focuses on the theory of 'Multiple Intelligences,' proposed by American development psychologist Howard Garner. It proposes that each child learns and absorbs information in different ways based on their different intelligences. For example, using words (Linguistic Intelligence), numbers (Logical Intelligence), pictures (Spatial Intelligence), music (Musical Intelligence), a social experience (Inter-personal Intelligence), self-reflection (Intrapersonal Intelligence), and being in tune with nature ( Naturalist intelligence).
All of these different learning requirements are addressed in our curriculum. The curriculum is a compilation of different subjects and activities. English is the medium of instruction.
An overview of our nursery curriculum:
Progressive teaching methods based on activity, questioning, explaining, demonstrating, and using collaboration techniques are used by the teachers.
We use effective teaching methods and colourful classrooms to engage students' senses. Word Walls and theme-based boards supplement learning. The theme-based boards promote visual learning and create an interactive educational environment. Seasons, shapes, colours, a beach theme for summer, sea creatures, and the process of evaporation are a few explored so far. The colours and shapes pique the curiosity of small children.
Children learn the basics of writing, which is a fundamental building block of schooling. We begin with strokes and progress to the letter and number formation. Children improve their vocabulary and language skills by practising writing and spelling.
Children in pre-primary school have only recently learned to speak in longer sentences. This is the age when children become more curious and cognitive in their thinking. Listening and speaking are the most effective ways to establish a solid foundation in any language. Our students are encouraged to learn to express and understand English through a variety of listening and speaking activities such as show and tell, role play, and stories. We place a special emphasis on this because it is at this time that they are transitioning from speaking their native language to English.
Phonics is used to teach children new words. This makes learning more enjoyable, simple, and meaningful. Children learn to blend phonic sounds and read words.
In pre-primary school, children are first introduced to the concept of numbers. We teach students how to recognise numbers and introduce them to place value concepts. Montessori materials such as beads and spindles to teach them counting, grouping, sorting, and numbering are used. Using hands-on learning not only makes learning more enjoyable, but it also helps students retain concepts.
Small children learn to explore new things and have new experiences, discovering something new every day. We capitalise on this innate curiosity and use sensorial activities to improve their perception. Children are introduced to and made to work with materials (touch boards to baric tablets) that challenge their understanding and help them build on previously acquired knowledge as they progress from the known to the unknown and from the concrete to the abstract. Sensory activities offer rich experiences that train their developing senses, including auditory, kinaesthetic, visual, baric, thermic, olfactory, tactile sense, and gustatory senses.
The goal of teaching students about the environment is to connect the children to their surroundings through various experiences. We believe that children should start to love and appreciate the world and the people around them at a young age. We use experiments, nature walks, bird watching, field trips, and theme exhibits to teach these concepts. Nature, natural phenomena, and important facts about natural science using simple and tangible methods are used. This facilitates the formation of a fundamental understanding of the natural world.
Some experiments children get to observe intrigue their interest and encourage them to think scientifically. We demonstrate how fluid can flow through a tube without any external force. Carnation flowers and coloured water are used. Children notice how the colour of the petals changes as the water flows upwards and learn that water flows upwards without the use of external forces. They then relate it to how watering plants is beneficial.
Practical life activities help children hone their fine and gross motor skills in order to carry out daily tasks. These enable the child to settle and develop psychically. Some of the activities that help children learn and grow include opening and closing their lunch boxes, putting things back in their designated spots after use, arranging crayons, and tidily packing their school bags. Pouring water on germinating seeds is another activity that improves fine motor skills. This requires concentration, patience, and control over the amount of water poured. Children are prepared to be lifelong learners through practical life activities.
Storytelling and puppetry are enjoyable ways for young children to learn. They have been shown to improve listening and speaking skills, foster imagination, and aid in the development of cognitive abilities. This ancient and powerful medium also teaches children problem-solving and critical thinking skills. We tell them stories about concepts and themes that will help them become better people. Stories about festivals raise awareness of culture and tradition.
We do not believe in subjecting young children to examinations or rigorous tests. However, our school has assessment methods in place to assist teachers in establishing each child's progress in conceptual understanding and determining the effectiveness of teaching methods. Throughout the academic year, the progress and growth of nursery students are monitored through informal and formal assessments. Informal assessments are conducted in the classroom through observations, revisions, and reinforcement activities. On alternate months, formal assessments are made using activity sheets and worksheets. It provides opportunities for teachers and parents to collaborate in order to support students' development as they grow.
At the end of each term, an Achievement Record is provided to track each child's progress through short, measurable steps. It is carried out twice a year. Language abilities, numerical abilities, environmental awareness, art and craft, music, sensory, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development are all factors considered when evaluating children.
We celebrate our diverse and rich culture by grandly commemorating different festivals. These celebrations help our students understand the significance of each festival. The celebrations teach children to appreciate other people's cultures and traditions, as well as instil in them the ethos of unity in diversity. Celebrating festivals like Janmashtami, Dasara, Pongal, and Christmas inspire joy, creativity, sensitivity, and a sense of belonging. As a result, their social skills also improve. To mark each occasion, children dress in ethnic attire and perform songs, dance, and chant shlokas.
School Day is a significant event that occurs every two years. It is a special occasion because all of our students' parents and families are invited to watch them perform. The occasion is marked by a well-organised cultural show, the culmination of our students' and teachers' hard work. Teachers ensure that every child participates in a variety of events based on mythology, current events, and educational themes. There are performances of dance, drama, and plays.
Teachers and experts teach students how to sing, dance, and act. Every child is encouraged to perform on stage or lend their voices to studio recordings of dialogues or songs. It provides students with experiential learning opportunities by having them perform on stage with lights and sound effects in front of a large audience.
A Graduation Ceremony recognises and celebrates each child's achievements in the three years they spend in the nursery section. Students wear caps and gowns to receive their certificates. LKG students put on a show for the graduating class, and UKG students sing a thank you song to commemorate the event. SmtDeepa Sridhar, Director of the Sri Kumaran Group of Institutions, and other school principals present the certificates.
Reading skills have numerous advantages for young children. It assists them in developing and expanding their language skills, improving memory and concentration, expanding their vocabulary, and understanding each concept. To teach children to read, we use methods such as picture talk, storybooks, word wall reading, picture flashcards, and sentence strips. This also instils the habit at a young age and allows them to express themselves.
Pre-primary children are on the verge of developing various motor skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Every task we do requires the coordination of muscles, tissues, and our brain. And it is critical that we develop these movements in children so that they can perform basic tasks. Fine motor skills and gross motor skills are the two types of motor skills we concentrate on.
Fine motor skills are the ability to control smaller objects with precise and small movements of the hands and fingers. We require them to perform simple tasks such as writing, opening a pencil box, and buttoning our shirts. To improve our students' fine motor skills, we use a variety of hands-on activities such as tearing, pouring, crushing, pasting, scribbling and tracing, drawing and colouring, Montessori activities, and clay modelling.
Gross motor skills necessitate the use of larger muscles in the body as well as hand-eye coordination to perform tasks such as walking and running. To improve physical stability and brain coordination in our students, we use fun yoga, outdoor games like hopping, jumping, walking on toes, obstacle walks, organised games, and physical exercises. This also facilitates balance.
Children in pre-primary school begin to learn how to interact with their peers, address their teachers, work in groups, follow directions, convey their wants, and express their feelings. It is critical to support this growth. The four components of social skills are known as the "Four Cs": confidence, communication, cooperation, and curiosity. To improve verbal communication among our students, we use strategies such as Circle Time, verbal greeting exchanges, birthday celebrations, and group play.
Through creativity and aesthetics, children learn to express their innermost feelings or personal opinions. Throughout history, visionaries have manifested their ideas into tangible things such as arts and discoveries. Developing children's creativity through fine arts such as drawing, painting, colouring, collage, craft, dance, music, and value-based role-play and skits thus becomes imperative.
Music is another important way to encourage learning in young children. Songs and music not only entertain and delight children, but they also serve as useful learning tools. Learning music, rhymes, and rhythms has been shown to accelerate brain development by improving listening abilities, coordination, communication skills, and sensory development. Music allows children to learn new sounds, words, and patterns. Our students are taught fun musical rhymes as well as rhymes in different languages such as Kannada and Hindi.
Our elders chant shlokas on a daily basis. This tradition is immensely beneficial to adults and children. It improves children's intellect, pronunciation, concentration, and memory. Sitting patiently to chant teaches children to be still, which enables them to be calm. As a consequence, we have introduced prayer, chanting specific shlokas, and meditation into our daily routine. We also teach Bhagavad-Gita and Vishnu Sahasranama to students.
Sri Kumaran Group of Institutions is proud to be one of the first in Bangalore to have a resource centre to assist children of all ages who are experiencing learning difficulties. Our former director, Smt. Meenakshi Balakrishnan, also lovingly addressed as Mother, was the inspiration for the resource room. Sadhanam was founded in 1985 with her guidance and in consultation with the Director of the Spastic Society, Smt. Rukmini Krishnaswamy. By continuing to provide students with the help that they require, the school carries on Smt. Meenakshi Balakrishnan's legacy and ethos of inclusivity. A dedicated team of special educators creates learning programmes for students who require a little extra assistance.
Teachers closely observe students in the nursery sections, and those who require additional assistance are identified at the beginning of the academic year. Following a discussion with the parents, they are referred to Sadhanam. Teachers in resource rooms give each child one-on-one attention and design programmes specifically for them. This improves their reading, vocabulary, and writing abilities. Each student’s progress is reviewed on a regular basis, and parents are given regular updates. Sadhanam's experts also refer parents to resources outside of the school if required.
A good parent-teacher relationship is essential because both sides can collaborate for the benefit of the students. Parent-teacher meetings are held once every two months at the school to review a child's progress. During these meetings, open dialogue helps both parents and teachers identify the child's strengths and areas for improvement. During these meetings, teachers inform parents about their ward's advancement as well as areas for improvement. Teachers offer advice on how to help the child develop further. If parents have concerns, they can express them during these meetings as well. Parents are provided time slots in advance to meet the respective teachers.