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Do you believe in magic?

By Administrator on December 7, 2015

When we started the SabTera Kansal School (Punjab) school like a lab with 25 under-resourced kids, in the age group of 3 to 8 years, this April, we were looking for a system that believed in empowering kids with an education system that taught them how to think and be themselves completely and wholly, to be responsible individuals and citizens later. Other than a sense of knowing what not to do and with a set of three trainers who also had never really taught, we started with our first bunch.

Was it easy? It was chaotic. The children were aggressive and not used to being in a system. These children were not just first-generation learners, but also brought up on low self-esteem. I wondered, “How am I going to take this group from where they are to where they need to be?” And it was difficult, it was awfully hard. How do I raise the self-esteem of a child and his academic achievement at the same time?

The only thing that helped me through was taking it one day at a time. To set the record straight, I’m not an educationist. Nor were any of the facilitators we started with. We knew one thing that teaching and learning should bring joy. How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think. These kids, in fact all kids, need an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.

The SabTera school aims to make each child feel treasured and loved and each child is very special to us.

As part of our nurturing program, we gave the children a snack and a meal. The children initially would want food the moment they walked through the doors. Obviously our kids were starving. It took months for the kids to realize that food never did run short here. With consistent meetings with parents, we knew that milk, fruits, a wholesome meal was missing from their diet. We soon started making a chart of a glass of milk every day as a compulsory inclusion in their diet.

For the longest time we thought the kids came because of the food they got; it could be one of the reasons. But more than that, the feeling of being loved and accepted was clearly missing. The fact that they were lesser off was a feeling that they lived with.  That is what I wanted the children not to have in their minds.

We gradually got along other academicians and an integral counselor who worked with our facilitators on how to go about the day. We are now creating a powerful study program that intends to nurture an integrated human being with breadth and depth of understanding. We have a sit-down with all the facilitators after school and hold conversations on how their day went. We are developing a path that discovers particular needs, interests, and talents, and to work out a balanced program of study. Our classes, or shall we say groups, have an average student-teacher ratio of 7:1.

Increasing our numbers is important to us but we are keen on getting it right. Despite the challenges of space and the economy of running a free education enterprise, we actually are having fun doing what we are. It’s not easy, and it’s not impossible either. We know we can make a difference. And we will.

I do believe in magic. Do you?

 


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