Established in June 2012, the Karka Primary Project showcases an alternate model of Primary education that is completely child centric, and went on till March 2016.
Karka Primary Education arose as a direct result of the brilliant impact Karka Math Lab had on the students of Class 6, 7 and 8. We, at Altius Foundation realized that it is crucial to lay a strong theoretical foundation for the children at a young age, to enable them to explore and grow conceptually. Only once this is achieved, can they apply their learning in all aspects of life.
Through this project the Foundation aims to provide a sound primary education model to economically underprivileged students that helps overcome issues such as:
Lack of good teachers
Inadequate understanding of individual skills of students
Inadequate and inappropriate use of technology
Poor grasp over concepts
The vision of our project was to develop a sound base in Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Arts & Crafts amongst these kids from a very early age. Improved learning outcomes at all levels of school education, with special focus on mastery of basic reading, communication and numerical skills is what we aim at providing.
Containing most of the underlying philosophy of the Math Lab and focusing on creating Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLE), Karka Primary Education was started in 2013 at the Sree Karpagavalli Vidyalaya. In addition to SOLE, the following are its main features:
1. Use of technology and free content available on the internet as a strong facilitator of self learning and peer learning.
2. Redefining roles of teachers to become facilitators who will help the child realise his/her potential.
3. Provide an environment that promotes individual character building, by giving importance to characteristics like discipline, timeliness, cleanliness, etc.
Creating such an environment will result in a robust secondary and higher education system as a follow up and the problem of drop outs will be considerably solved.
Our project focuses on providing an environment that is:
· Child centric in terms of facilitation
· Lets children learn at their own pace
· Providing multi-modal learning opportunities
· Approaching a child in every possible way to facilitate learning
Creating a conducive environment for the children to learn is one of the most important aspects that was taken into consideration while creating this model. We do not believe that education should be limited to the four walls of a classroom.
Karka Primary Education had created a separate environment for each subject, such as Mathematics, Science, Tamil, English and Language Development. The children were not stationed at one particular class but kept moving to the different environments designed for the individual subjects.The children, depending on the class they had to attend, visited the respective environments. Each environment was carefully designed based on the subject matter being discussed in order to help provide the children with additional information in a more unique and enjoyable method.
Customised classroom designs:
The classroom designs were created to cater to the specific needs of the subject and had been developed by the Karka Team with utmost care . We have a great collection of customized teaching aids and the volunteers work tirelessly to create newer, more efficient and innovative ones.
Stationery materials and pigeon holes:
We supplied the entire stationary requirements to the class. Each student was allotted a space in the pigeonhole where all the study material required was present. Because of this, children do not have to struggle to carry material to the school and back.
This is a perfect knowledge-seeking environment setup in association with Hippocampus to build a continuous thirst for knowledge and lay a strong reading foundation for the kids. Sessions were conducted on a weekly basis to help the children improve their reading skills. The children loved this space and did not miss a single opportunity to make the most use of it.
Each classroom had been designed with utmost attention and focus to technology based learning and were fitted with plasmas for visual understanding and several computers and ipads for learning through games and apps. Each lesson was designed in such a way that it contained material to cater the different ways of learning and hence mades it easier to approach a child in whatever way best suits him/her.
Extra Curricular Activities:
We also strongly inculcated extra curricular activities like life-skills into the education system as we believed that it is necessary for the overall development of every child.
It stands for Self Organised Learning Environment. This is as the name suggests a self learning environment based on the SOLE toolkit prescribed by Dr.Sugata Mitra. This enhanced the knowledge of students in an exponential manner across a wide variety of topics. Kids typically divided themselves in groups and were given computers and ipads and they spent a couple of hours every week on google trying to answer some fun questions like “which animal can walk backwards? And why?” or “What is the longest English word without a vowel?”. And the most exciting part was that these kids knew the answers by-heart and associated so much joy with these sessions because it involved them working hard to find answers on their own and were not guided in any way.
Kids attended weekly classes conducted by a trained Yoga professional which helped improve their concentration and enhanced fitness.
This has always been a fun way to learn spellings whether it is while participating or simply watching the game. And so we introduced, an annual contest for students that aimed at increasing vocabulary and spelling. It was conducted in December every year.
Aimed at increasing logical thinking and creativity, students spent time regularly playing games on the ipad which unlocked their out-of- the- box thinking. Apart from playing fun games, they also played puzzle games like shadowmatic, which helped increase their level of imagination or parking mania, which helped improve their logical thinking skills.
Transparency of the system:
The team functioned with a well-planned lesson, tracking and feedback system. At each stage, special care was taken to maintain the transparency of the system, so that the students do not become dependent on any one facilitator at any time.
Special focus on English language development:
Apart from the regular English class, an exclusive environment for English language development was set up that focuses on the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
The children were allowed to learn at their own pace, and a mix of various activities like teaching, playing games and doing worksheets take place at the same time within a class.
Customised Lesson plans:
The lesson plans were created by a dedicated team that looked at best-learning practices for the particular topic and customised the same to suit the needs of each child. Each lesson plan had specific benchmarks that need to be achieved.
Customised grading model:
Along with the Reportbee team we created a customized grading model. The Reportbee software was used for analyzing student-wise performance. The product also focused on providing insights to teachers on which benchmarks need more attention.
These outcomes are a great source of motivation for us and we are glad to share it with you.
The environment and facilitation aspects of the Math lab have given way to creating a robust classroom model that can be implemented in any spare room of a school and at reasonably low costs.
SREE KARPAGAVALLI VIDHYALAYA MIDDLE SCHOOL
No. 4, East Mada Street
Chennai – 600 004
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