Academic updates - 2016

  • Start of New Academic Year – June 13, 2016
  • The students from the vocational training class, conduct the assembly proceedings by sharing the task. They also have taken on the responsibility of making announcements to the assembled students. This is a good step enabling better social interaction.
  • An electronic bell has been installed and it is utilized to announce the beginning of classroom sessions, lunch and other breaks. The students have become accustomed to this system within a short period of time
  • A new curriculum has been designed with enhanced academic functionalities. This has been framed to cover all the primary and pre-vocational classes. There will be flash cards used to teach letters, words, recognition of objects, and so on. The new curriculum also comprises of picture comprehensions and game based activities
  • Personalized yoga plans for each student is framed by the yoga teacher. The basis of the plans will depend on each student’s assessment and the appropriate asanas to be practised regularly.
  • Audio visual aids such as iPads, Tablets, LED projectors are now being used as a medium of instruction in all the classes, to impart various lessons.
  • Discussions have been had with a leading retail giant, Big Basket, and we have successfully finalized plans to place one of our vocational students with them as an intern. The intern will begin working with Big Basket from July 01, 2016. Counselling and training has been given to the student, to travel by bus by himself, on how to conduct himself at the workplace, on managing in an emergency, etc. To begin with the student will be working with a job coach, until he settles in
  • Students of culinary have been given a set timetable within which time they have to prepare various dishes in the kitchen, during the week. Other training that these students are receiving are:
    • Cutting, chopping and cleaning vegetables
    • Serving beverages and food
    • Cleaning kitchen utensils
    • Grinding
    • Using various kitchen gadgets
  • The students are enthusiastic to learn and have also demonstrated great progress.
  • Group activities by students during theatre arts hour have resulted in lot of positive changes in the students. Role plays, imitation play, Mask activities, movement therapies etc. have had a significant impact in helping the children to learn life skills.
  • As an initiative to improve the socialisation skills of the children, we have introduced a new activity. The children have begun visiting their friends’ houses and are learning to interact with each other, in a different environment. The parents of pre-vocational students Sairam and Surya, invited all the children to their homes. Both Sairam and Surya received training on how to welcome their friends, on how to serve water/ tea/ coffee/ soft drinks and snacks to their guests. The students were also introduced to other family members of each student. The students played a few games, before they parted.

academic updates - 2015

I TERM

The academic year 2015 – 16 started with the inauguration of Computer Training unit. Swabodhini partnered with United Way Chennai (UWC) to set up a full-fledged Computer training center to train vocational students in basic computer and office administration skills. The newly built vocational unit for computer training and office administration was inaugurated by Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant Technology Solutions ( CTS ) and Mr. Narayanan Vaghul, Former Chairman, ICICI on 12th June, 2015.

Curriculum and the complete syllabi for all the three vocational units – namely the computer and office administration skills, retail and culinary training were successfully formulated. The duration of each course is 18 months after which the students will be mainstreamed into open employment based on their skills. The initial spade work for mainstreaming is being carried out in this regard. The courses are conducted strictly as per the syllabi.

Computer & Office Admin skills

  • Computer students are not only trained in the subjects in class, but they are also imparted practical training by taking them on field visits to various companies to expose them to a real office environment. Internship in an office for a week is also a part of the training, which will be done after the student reaches independent level in 80% of the areas.
  • Office Administration skills training include maintaining office files, registers, photocopying, attending calls and related skills of office management
  • Our students of computer training section are trained to produce all the circulars and assessment grids for all the vocational courses.
  • The school notice board is maintained by them.
  • Soft skills like conducting themselves in an office environment, dressing, attending phone calls, waiting to take their turns, etc. are also trained as part of the curriculum.

Retail skill

  • Retail skills basically covers – identification of products, weighing, stacking, sorting, packing, billing and customer interactions are trained in the retail training program.
  • The training covers practical sessions – visits to departmental stores with mock sessions of picking objects from racks, identifying the groups of products, storage, billing, payment etc.
  • In theory classes cocepts of money, tendering change, preparation of bills, taking customer orders over phone, taking closing stocks etc. are taught.
  • Swayam Retail on Wheels was inaugurated on September 28th 2015. Few products like cereals, pulses, spices, oils & ghees, soaps & detergents etc were transported in Swayam van and exhibited in residential area at Thoraipakkam. Apart from customer relations, students were also trained in on the spot packing, billing and few home delivery services. This event brought forth an unbelievable sale of around Rs.20,000.

Culinary skills

  • Culinary program involves basic skills like identification of kitchen utility items, safety measures used in the kitchen, preparation of basic recipes, dining arrangements, serving, decoration and hospitality management.
  • Students prepare simple recipes like juices, sandwiches, salads, sundal etc. While preparing the items the nutritive values of the ingredients are also taught.

New Initiatives

Behaviour Therapy

Children with behavioral issues need to have some type of therapy that allows them to express themselves without consequences. Behaviour therapy also teaches the child different ways to respond to situations in a positive way. Various sessions of behavioural therapies on one to one basis are provided for all age groups level wise and there has been enormous progress in many of our students over a period of time. Through behavior therapy sessions in Swabodhini, one of our students, who exhibited aggressive behavior initially, reduced 60 % of his anxiety and aggression and is now able to cope well with the regular routine activities.

Parent Counseling

The overall development of the child is seen when there is support from all the three areas – namely the teacher, the student and the parent. A parent is the most influential person in a child’s life. Parents coping with issues outside their home, in their personal relationships, or with finances or health may find the challenges of parenting especially stressful and difficult to cope with at times, especially when a child is also facing an issue. They need help in the form of counseling to help them get over their stress levels.

Parental counseling is conducted on one to one basis and many sessions are conducted in Swabodhini with parents of adolescents and young adults. Suggestions and guidelines in identifying the potential areas of interests and encouraging the same and ways of independent living were provided.

One of the students of vocational group has been identified with extra ordinary talent of art and the counseling of both the parents (family counseling) by providing strategies at home benefited them to bring in new avenues of hope and roadmap to the student’s future.

Others

  • Teachers Day was celebrated on September 4, 2015. Projects day was celebrated in the morning session.
    • Primary 1 students performed The thirsty crow story and showed the importance of gardening. Montessori activity items to improve the eye hand coordination and fine motor development were also displayed.
    • Primary 2 and 3 students displayed Road rules with the theme “Keep left”, process of seed germination and experiential learning.
    • Primary 4 and pre-vocational students demonstrated Traffic rules in public places through models and showed the importance of zebra crossing. Few students displayed a mini retail outlet and sold fresh fruits, vegetables and groceries.
    • Vocational girls displayed many eco-friendly handmade products like purses, bags, envelopes, jewellery items and diyas. The boys made an environment science based project on Conservation of Earth’s resources.
  • Experiential learning As part of this Primary 4, pre vocational and vocational students visited Birla Planetarium. The primary students had a wonderful learning with experience of travel by train from Velachery to Beach station.
  • Individual Yoga Programme (IYP) is carried on as per plan and periodical reviews are being held and also tailored according to the needs of the students.
  • Other extra Activities
    • Shiksha Finance Ltd. A company funding for educational needs had approached us to encourage our students develop a logo for their company. Students came out with brilliant samples. Finally the logo was selected from one of their drawings.
    • Grundfos Pumps conducted a painting contest to many of the special needs school students to paint a model of some of their pumps. One of the paintings of our students was selected. They have also announced that the selected painting would be released as their calendar for next year.

      The first term ended with Parent Teachers Meet where various issues addressing the needs of the students at school and home were discussed and suggestions and guidelines were provided by a team of special educators and therapists.

academic term II & III

ACADEMIC & OTHER UPDATES – II & III TERMS OCT TO DEC 2015

Term II of this academic year unexpectedly became too short with just 45 work days, thanks to the rains and floods of Chennai. But due to Grace of the Almighty our school premises remained intact with very minor issues which could be addressed immediately. Despite the short period of time we could do quite a bit on the academic side.

  • In continuation of the Parent meeting held at the close of I term, the follow-up action items were taken up. Home programs were given to parents for being carried out at home. Counseling parents continued. Tips were given to them to manage their mental and physical states to handle their wards’ behaviour issues.
  • Under the MOU signed with JBAS College for Women around 10 students from PG course of psychology, Nutrition & Dietetics & Child development did their internship in Swabodhini. Students were assigned to various classes of the smaller groups. They did painting, posters, charts depicting rhymes actions, flash cards etc. They also spent time with children of pre-primary & primary I & II classes on storytelling, general awareness and other games for socialization etc.

    They also prepared and displayed a lot of gluten free keisen free nutritive food items specifically for children with special needs. Parents were invited for the display and they were explained about the ingredients and effects they have on children. It was a well attended program.
  • Vocational curriculum is being carried on as per plan. As part of training, students have to be taken on field trips to companies where they can get a hands on experience of a real organisation. This is done in order to develop their soft skills. 6 of the Computer & Office Admin students were taken on a field visit to Williams Lea Ltd in Chennai. They learnt the processes of reporting at the gate security, getting a visitor’s pass, waiting at the lobby to meet the executive, maintaining silence at work place, location of utilities like wash rooms, cafeteria, dining hall etc. Observing the rules while entering an executive’s office, self introduction and introduction of friends to others was also part of the training. Motivation and pride in every student was very visible.
  • Vocational students are also being trained on life skills. Managing an emergency situation when they are left alone in a new place, how to face floods situation, when there is no power, etc are some of the topics. Real life situations are simulated and enacted to them to make them understand. They are being taken to banks for cheque deposit & cash withdrawal from ATMs. They are being familiarized with travelling by themselves in public transport. Bus routes within the city are also being taught.
  • Retail students undertook a second venture of their retail on wheels as part of experiential learning. Groceries were taken to a gated community in Chennai where the students made sales worth around Rs. 20,000. Students’ duties were divided between identification of products, packing them for delivery, billing and customer interaction. It was a very good experience to both students as well as staff.
  • Science lab experiments on concept of floating, seasons, rainbow formation and colors of the rainbow were taught in the science lab to students of primary IV & V.
  • We had earlier mentioned that 2 of the drawings of model pumps of Grundfos Pvt Ltd, done by our students were selected by them for being published. We are happy to share the picture of the pumps appearing on their calendar for 2016.
  • Paypal Ltd conducted a Hackathorn event – an opportunity hacking event for software development for NGO’s. Ms. Kiran Bedi was the chief guest of the function. The logo for the event was a painting done by one of our students which was unveiled by her.
  • On 23rd Jan our students took part in the Wipro Chennai Marathon events Expo function and performed the cultural events.
  • On 31st January, 2016 our students participated in the Wipro Chennai marathon “ Run for Fun” especially conducted for people with special needs.
  • On January 25th 2016 our students performed a dance program in the award distribution function organized by Tanker Foundation. Many celebrities witnessed the program and appreciated the students. The dance performance was on the description about the five types of lands as explained in the Tamil literature (Kurinji, Mullai, Marutham, Neithal & Paalai). The foundation also gave a memento with a citation about the students & the school.
  • On 1st February 2016 our students participated in the DDRO sports Meet conducted by the State Government in which many of the ministers participated. Our students participated in running, long jump, obstacle race etc. Our vocational student Miran Mohideen won the second prize in 200 mtr running race. They received the prizes & certificates of participation from the Minister for Social Welfare Mrs. Valarmathi. Our Vocational student Rudresh won the 2nd prize in 200 mtr running race.