Project based learning – Why and How?


“I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.” – Confucius

Why is it important to “do”? Aren’t facts and figures enough to take a concept home? It seems logical, but in reality, it is seldom the case.
Theory is important. It teaches us the basics. But for any of us, the best way to learn is by doing. And it is true for any kind of learning. For example, we can talk about the properties of fire and explain the intensity of its heat, but for us to really understand it, we will need to light a fire and stand next to it.

So it is with children. In fact, it is all the more important for children because the best way they learn is through their tactile senses. Logic and reasoning comes much later.
At The Wonder Years Preschools, we have been imparting Project based education for the last 7 years. Our KG children have to submit a project based on their Theme every week. The project is prepared at home by the children, with minimal assistance from parents,. They learn about it when they prepare the project and then come to class and present the project in front of the class.
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Consider a project like “Uses of parts of face”. While they do this, they are developing in multitude ways, They prepare the project with their little hands (Fine and gross motor skills, Hand eye coordination, Spacial recognition, Logical reasoning etc), then they learn the project and as much information associated with it (cognitive development, associative and relative data management etc), then they come to school and present the project to the class (presentation skills, language development, confidence building, overcoming stage fear etc)

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As you can see, there is so much that they can develop from a small little project. The more practical ways they learn, the better it is for children.

Blog by
George Mathew (Mob: 9020680385)
Founder & CEO | The Wonder Years Primary Schools (http://www.thewonderyears.co.in)

British Council International School Award.

Head Office: Pongummoodu – 6444024/23 | Branch Offices: Palkulangara (Near Pettah) – 6444026 | Kazhakuttom – 6444028 |

Learning disabilities in Children

Learning disabilities or disorders, is term used to describe a variety of learning problems. In most cases it is not a problem with intelligence. In fact, Kids with learning disabilities are as smart as everyone else. Its just that their brains are wired differently. This affects how they receive and process information. This can lead to trouble with learning new things putting them to use.

But the important thing to remember is that most kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. They just need to be taught in ways that are tailored to their unique learning styles.

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Preschool age 1 – 4

  • Trouble making eye contact
  • Difficulty in playing with peers
  • Problems pronouncing words
  • Difficulty rhyming
  • Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
  • Difficulty following directions or learning routines
  • Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or coloring within the lines

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 5-9

  • Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
  • Unable to blend sounds to make words
  • Confuses basic words when reading
  • Slow to learn new skills
  • Consistently misspells words and makes frequent errors
  • Trouble learning basic math concepts
  • Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 10-13

  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
  • Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
  • Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
  • Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
  • Spells the same word differently in a single document

Common types of learning disabilities

Dyslexia – Difficulty with reading

  • Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking

Dyscalculia – Difficulty with math

  • Problems doing math problems, understanding time, using money

Dysgraphia – Difficulty with writing

  • Problems with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas

Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) – Difficulty with fine motor skills

  • Problems with hand-eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity

Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language

  • Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension

Auditory Processing Disorder – Difficulty hearing differences between sounds

  • Problems with reaiding, comprehension, language

Visual Processing Disorder – Difficulty interpreting visual information

  • Problems with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures

ADHD While not considered a learning disability, can certainly disrupt learning. Children with ADHD often have problems sitting still, staying focused, following instructions, staying organized, and completing homework.

Autism – Difficulty mastering certain academic skills can stem from pervasive developmental disorders such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children with Autism Specturm disorders may have trouble communicating, reading body language, learning basic skills, making friends, and making eye contact.

The diagnosis and testing process for learning disabilities

Diagnosing a learning disability is a process. It involves testing, history taking, and observation by a trained specialist. Finding a reputable referral is important.

Learning disabilities can be extremely frustrating for children. Kids with learning disabilities may have trouble expressing their feelings, calming themselves down, and reading nonverbal cues from others. This can lead to difficulty in the classroom and with their peers.

The good news is that, as a parent, you can have a huge impact in these areas. Social and emotional skills are the most consistent indicators of success for all children—and that includes kids with learning disorders. They outweigh everything else, including academic skills, in predicting lifelong achievement and happiness.

Learning disabilities, and their accompanying academic challenges, can lead to low self-esteem, isolation, and behavior problems, but they don’t have to. You can counter these things by creating a strong support system for children with learning disabilities and helping them learn to express themselves, deal with frustration, and work through challenges.

By focusing on your child’s growth as a person, and not just on academic achievements, you’ll help him or her learn good emotional habits that set the stage for success throughout life.

All the best 

George Mathew
Founder & CEO, The Wonder Years Primary Schools

Summer Fun Continued….

So the first month of summer vacation is getting over. However, Trivandrum is still buzzing with activities for children – be it theater, chess, sports, yoga, personality development, public speaking, music, dance and reading.. Come and explore the top events for children.

For details, click here.
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MindCarter is hosting a theater program for kids at hotel SP GRAND DAYS, Trivandrum. This is for 7-14 years old students. The dates in May are yet to be finalized. Details are here.

Capablanca Chess School is presently conducting a chess summer camp for children. The next camp is due to begin in May.  For details, click here.

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TrickShotz  India is a kid-friendly billiards spot, which has a Snooker and Pool Club/Summer Camp for children interested in the sport. For details, click here.

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Nirbhaya Debating Society will be conducting a Partriotic Leadership Program at Schoolkutti.com Children’s Library for children above 10 years. It is basically a Patriotic Leadership Program for School Students.

The main objective of the program is to train the next generation in Leadership Strategies, Effective Nation Building, Team Development, Active Citizenship, Character Formation, Communication Skills etc.

Activities: Role Play, Skit, Model Parliament, Mock Press etc.

Dates: May 10 to 23 (10 days, week days only)
Time: 10:15 AM to 12:15 PM
Limited Seats. First come, first served

About the Trainer: A.P Prejish, an emerging Entrepreneurship Trainer and an Educationalist is a National Award Winner in Public Speaking constituted by Government of India. Prejish is the Chairman of Nirbhaya Debating Society and has been training more than thousands of students and youngsters through various Central and State Government organizations such as Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (Govt. of India), Centre for Gandhian Studies – University of Kerala, National Service Scheme (NSS), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Student Police Cadet Project (SPC).

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Click here to register for the program.

Varadamudra Temple of Dance ,Trivandrum will be conducting a Dance Movement Therapy Workshops for children aged 6 to 16 years at Schoolkutti.com Children’s Library. The workshop will be based on different topics related to dance incorporating mime and body movements. There will be emphasis on mind and body coordination. The workshop aims to enhance creativity, confidence and concentration level.

Highlights of the camp will be

☆ Observation training
☆ Movement Therapy
☆ Dance out of harmony with body
☆ Dance in harmony with  body

Dates: May 8 to 19 (Week days only)
Time: 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM

About the trainer:
Chothy Nair , Founder and Artistic director of Varadamudra Temple of Dance Trivandrum, started  learning Bharatanatyam at the age of three. She took her first steps in Mohiniyattam at the age of nine and Kuchipudi at the age of twelve. She was a recipient of the CCRT scholarship for Mohiniyattam in 2000. She was also honoured with the title of Kalathilakam  from 2005 to 2007 in both Keralotsavam and Shree Vidhyadhiraja Kalotsavam. She was the first runner up in Vanita Ratnam, a women’s reality show aired on Amrita Television in 2010. She finished  her graduation in Choreography from Natya insitute of kathak and Choreography under the able guidance of Guru Smt Dr Maya Rao and Maddhu Natraj Kiran. She has performed and Choreographed for various performances in India.

Click here to register for the program.

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BALAGRAMAM – THE CHILDREN’S HERITAGE AND NATURE CAMP

BALAGRAMAM – THE CHILDREN’S HERITAGE AND NATURE CAMP
18 to 23 APRIL 2017 at Salagramam, School of Bhagavad Gita, Trivandrum
Balagramam – the Children’s Heritage and Nature Camp – is here again, at Salagramam, to welcome children to an atmosphere of love, learning and laughter.

Click here to send an enquiry about the camp.

http://schoolkutti.com/summer-camps/summer-camps-details.php?id=154

Conceptualised and guided personally by Swami Sandeepananda Giri, with the support of experts from the fields of culture and education, Balagramam will initiate children on to a journey of discovery of themselves and the universe which they are part of.
The Camp, which is fully residential, will be held from 18 to 23 APRIL 2017.
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In the relaxed and happy atmosphere of Salagramam, children learn to care and share with others, accept, adjust and appreciate themselves and the world around them. At the camp, they will be introduced to the richness of our heritage and scriptures. They will be taught to respect values and develop behavioral skills. Games, outdoor activities, yoga and meditation will strengthen them with physical and mental health. Lessons in Sanskrit, dance, music and crafts will enrich their talents. Along with team work, they develop a sense of identity, responsibility, self confidence and efficient time management.
In short, Balagramam strives to kindle the creative spirit within each child to attain the fullest potential.
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Age Limit: Children from 5 to 16 years can participate. They will be divided into groups according to age.
Accommodation: Children will be accommodated in dormitories. There will be separate dormitories for boys and girls.
Reporting at Camp:
Travel to and back from the ashram will have to be made by the participants themselves. Children accompanied by parent/guardian will have to report by 9.30 A.M on 18th April 2017.Parents / guardians will have to leave the campus after the inaugural session.
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Proposed Activities :
#Yoga and Meditation # Introduction to Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures # Introduction to Dance, Music, Art, Literature # Craft workshop # Interactive sessions and meeting with well- known cultural personalities # Creative sessions on Dramatics and Speaking # Talent time #Outdoor activities and games # Picnic- One day picnic- cum- study tour to a nearby place of interest.
Medium of communication: Malayalam and English
Supervision and Safety: We fully appreciate the concerns of parents when their children are away from home. Parents may rest assured that the camp and the children will be under the supervision of adult volunteers and coordinators. There will be a Doctor on call and first aid facilities are also available.
Food:
All meals and snacks will be served at the camp .Food will be vegetarian – simple and nutritious.
Dress code and items to be brought
Children, both boys and girls will wear white kurta-pyjama, which they will have to bring with them to the camp. They will have to bring at least 2 sets to wear during the day. Other items to be brought by the children 

1. Night wear
2. Sufficient set of under clothes
3. Towel
4. Bedsheet
5. Toilet kit with toothpaste and brush, soap and comb.
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End of Camp Activities
The camp concludes by the evening of 23rd April 2017. Certificates will be awarded to participants. All campers will share what they have learned in this cultural experience by participating in a special program for family and friends. All parents and friends are invited to attend this performance.
Camp Donation
Camp Donation is Rs 5000 per child, which will cover all camp expenses including stay, food and materials. 
Mode of Payment
Please make the payment either by DD or cheque favoring School of Bhagavad Gita OR Bank Transfer to our A/c No:541501010050179, Union Bank Of India, Thycaud Branch, Trivandrum.
IFS Code – UBIN0556823 , Account Holder – School of Bhagavad Gita.
Payments by CASH may be made by registering at our office.

Registration 
Online registration – www.sobg.org
Or fill in attached form and send it to:
School of Bhagavad Gita, Kundamankadavu, Thirumala P.O, Trivandrum- 695006
Phones : 0471-2367299 , 9446033331, 9061125265
Or email to admin@sobg.org

Contribute to a noble cause

VIDYAMRITAM started in July 2012 , when a group of like minded people got together for bringing sustainable changes in the society from the grassroots level. They help children at orphanages develop the basic life skills through a structured curriculum.

As a part of their curriculum, they have developed a BOOK BUDDY program for building /reviving libraries at the orphanages. Through this program they aim at developing 21st century skills for children at orphanages.

It would be great if you could please contribute the following, or spread the word amongst your friends (especially to those who are shifting or revamping their home); and be a part of this humble venture

-Book shelves
-Bean Bags
-Mats/Rugs
- Paint

They promote second hand items as long as they are in good condition.

vidyamritam

Team Vidyamritam
Inspire. Empower. Liberate

For details please visit www.vidyamritam.org

Contact us at info@vidyamritam.org,
9072301986, 9656912991

SUMMER CAMPS IN TRIVANDRUM – 2017

YIPPEE! Holidays are here. And a whole two months too! But we know how kids can be. Unless you keep them engaged, you are asking for trouble. Let schoolkutti.com help you with a wide range of summer camps happening all across our city. Areas include dance, arts, crafts, and social and intellectual skills.

Chess and Mind Games

Self confidence and a vast memory power – if you have the combo, then you’re a winner. When you play Chess you gain them all. As parents we may tend to act as helicopters. We hover a lot. We jump in, we put words in our children’s mouth. We think for them. We act for them. We talk for them. Well, they have to fly away from our nests some day, haven’t they? So, help them be independent. Chess makes them thinkers–critical thinkers. Problem solvers–patient problem solvers. There is nothing that works out your brain as rigorously as Chess does.

At Capablanca Chess School, top Chess Instructors provide great lessons on chess, and kids can learn and play in a fun-filled environment as well. Sessions include competitive play too. Yoga and concentration sessions, exclusive chess library, and transportation facility across Thiruvananthapuram city are the valuable services one can enjoy associating with Capablanca Chess School.
Details are here.
Capablanca Summer Camp

Dance, Music, Art, Craft et al

There are various summer camps that provide fun-based classes on dance, music, arts and crafts.

Bring your kids to Wiggles – watch them learn, dance, jump, laugh, sing and feel free!
Check out the Wiggles summer camp at Vazhuthacaud and Kazhakkoottam.
Details are here.
Wiggles Summer Camp

The Little Republic is here with their summer camp ‘Forever Land 2017′ with a variety of activities.
Yoga and Aerobics, Cooking and Baking, Electronic Awareness, Theatre, Dance, Art and Craft, Nature Time are some of them.
Details are here.
The Little Republic Summer Camp

Spoken English, Debate, Creative Writing and Public Speaking

Why not chill out this summer learning some fun English? Beat the heat with VETA’s Summer Camp fun! Learn, play, laugh and grow with us! Join the best summer camp with India’s Largest English Training Academy! The right choice this summer holidays!
Details are here.
VETA Summer Camp

Do you want your children to develop their skills in creative writing? Here is a workshop for children that improves their writing style, inspires them to read more and builds self-confidence in their writing abilities.

Join our vacation camp for 7 to 12 year old children from April 10 to 28. Highlights of the Camp will be Stories, Reading-themed Activities and Creative Writing assignments.

You can click here to register.
Read On

There is also a 10-day debate camp to groom children (10 years and above) in presenting complex issues in a concise, clear and persuasive way through challenging workshops and mock debates. The children will be coached by Ms. Kavyanair Prasadjyothy and Ms. Renjitha A Rajan who are successful university debate champions with a lot of passion in debating.

The aim is to provide children an early introduction to critical thinking, communication, and leadership. Debating also develops confidence and skills in analysis and reasoning.

Here are the details.
Making of Debators

Renaissance Communication and Leadership Institute (RCLI) is a leading provider of communication and leadership training for students. RCLI was born out of the belief that focus and attention should be given to nurturing communication skills just like the academics of a student. It is founded by Raj Nair (Speaker, Trainer and Leadership Coach) and Niranjana Nair (she is an experienced public speaker, and holds Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leader Bronze titles from Toastmasters).

Join our 10-day vacation camp for 7- to 12-year old children led by RCLI starting from March 27.

Highlights of the Camp include Getting rid of stage fright, building confidence at the lectern, incorporating vocal variety and body language in speeches, individual assessment and feedback, and practice sessions.
Details are here.
Speak with Confidence

Did you know playing Snooker helps you with precision and skill? Trick Shotz at Nalanchira teaches Snooker to kids aged 8 and above. So don’t miss out on their Snooker/Pool Summer Camp.
Details are here:
Trick Shotz

Adventure-packed summer camps

Still need more options? I agree, some of us think beyond the norm. Not all kids can be confined within the limits of a normal classroom. Wonder Years has arranged a whole set of adventure-packed programs for the little busy bees. You can sign up for their classes on dramatics, arts and crafts, and outdoor packages such as Solar Week, Trekking, Camping, Movies, and much more.
Details are here:

Wonder Years

The brains of growing children work like sponges. It absorbs all it can. Feed them with the right foods. Engage them efficiently. If you can ensure that, two months will do quite a lot of transformation.

Exam Preparation Tips from the Expert

Schoolkutti.com Children’s Library conducted a unique exam preparation workshop ‘Exam Busters’ that includes expert advice and games that guided children in the following areas.

- Applying memory technique
- Managing time effectively
- Developing positive body language and confidence
- Eliminating stress

It was facilitated by Dr. Anish N R K (Psychiatrist in charge of Child Clinic, Government Mental Health Center).
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Dr. Anish started by asking the children a question – how much can your brain store? When a baby is born itself, it has many neurons. However, connections are made as the child grows up. Capacity of the brain is actually not limited as many people think. It was interesting to hear that memory is like a huge library with unlimited storage. Receiving books (Registration), Storing books (Retention) and Retrieving books (Recall).
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Chances of registering into the brain can be increased by sending information through multiple channels such as saying it aloud, writing, drawing, imagining, researching, converting, questioning and quizzing based on it and also by teaching it to others.

Students can be categorized into auditory learners and visual learners. Dr. Anish gave useful tips for both types of learners. He pointed out that concentration is very important to register details well. He spoke about various exercises and yogasanas such as Vrikshasana (tree pose) that can improve concentration skills.

He also mentioned that it is normal to forget things. If information is well connected, it is easy to retain the details. So it is important to rehearse using various techniques such as flash cards. Memory games are good to practice recall. He explained memory techniques such as flash cards, acronyms and associations.

Dr. Anish added that memory card games and brain exercises such as crosswords, sudoku and chess also help in brain development. Children had fun playing some memory games to exercise their brain.

Most importantly, he advised the children not to cram for an exam because this only keeps information in the short term memory and adds to your stress. Always prepare for an exam well in advance. Sleeping well and eating right is also essential to keep the brain fresh.

Last, but not the least, there is no point in being restrained by our own thoughts. Be confident of your own capabilities and success is going to be yours.

Celestial Wonders – Session 4

Today’s was the last session of the Astronomy Workshop ‘Celestial Wonders’ by Aswin Jacob at Schoolkutti.com Children’s Library. Children were full of excitement and eager to learn something new.

Rainbow Colors

Aswin started with a discussion about how the white color is composed of many constituent colors and about the experiment that is done using the Newton’s disc. After that, he spoke about how a camera works. Then the children had great fun trying to build a pinhole camera.

Telescopes as Time Machines

It was good to know the the story behind the invention of telescope, the inventors and about the different components of telescope. Children also learned about the purpose of the hubble space telescope, how it works and why it is superior to the normal telescopes on earth.

This series of Astronomy Workshops was a unique learning experience for the children.

Weavers – Workshop on Insects

Did you think that spiders are insects? No, neither are millipedes and centipedes. What happens when a wasp attacks a cockroach? It was interesting to know that the venom attacks the neurotransmitters of the cockroach that blocks its escape response. The stung cockroach is not only paralyzed,its motivation to run also is gone. The wasp drags the cockroach and lays eggs on it so that the larvae can feed on it later.

What should you do to reduce the chances of getting stung by a wasp? Hold still with your eyes closed. Rapid movement startles the insect and encourages stinging.

Belgica antarctica, the Antarctic midge, is a species of flightless midge, endemic to the continent of Antarctica. At 2–6 mm (0.079–0.24 in) long, it is the largest purely terrestrial animal on the continent, as well as its only insect.

Children learned all this and much more in the Weavers – The Curious World of Insects Workshop – at Schoolkutti.com Children’s Library on 22nd January, 2017. Geetha Iyer, Biologist, Education Consultant and Author brought together little-known aspects of insect life.
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Kids had fun trying to identify and learning about the various insects in the photographs that were displayed.

Celestial Wonders – Session 2

Today’s topic in the ‘Celestial Wonders’ program was ‘Discovering the Milky Way’. Here is a quick look at few of the discussions we had.

How can we see the milky way if we are inside it? Isn’t it like trying to take a picture of the outside of your house while being IN your house? Because we are inside the Milky Way, we don’t get to take any pictures of it from an angle above it, but we only get pictures in which we see the structure of the Milky Way edge-on, from inside of it.

Exactly how far is an object when we say that an object is light years away? What do we understand when we look at objects that are light years away through a telescope? It was interesting to learn that the distance to Proxima Centauri is only four light years. However, it takes the light from our stellar next door neighbor four years to get to Earth.

We talked about dwarf galaxies, which are small galaxies composed of about 100 million up to several billion stars, a small number compared to the Milky Way’s 200–400 billion stars. Our milky way is expected to now grow mainly by eating smaller galaxies, rather than by collecting gas.

It was quite interesting to find out how the radiation from the sun reaches the earth. The magnetic field around earth protects our body’s DNA from being affected by this radiation. A very small change in our DNA can even affect the way we look.

Children were also curious to know how the planets, moons and asteroids in the Solar System were formed. After debating over some interesting theories and watching informative videos, we came to the end of the session.