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 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 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.
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.
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.
- 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.