The ZP school in the small village of Kedarvakdi in Matha tehsil of Jalna district is well worth a visit. While it may not look any different from the other ZP schools spread across Maharashtra, it is when you interact with the students that you appreciate the special efforts put in by their teachers.
The school has classes up to the 8th std, and also has a playschool with an ISO certification – for meeting international standards of excellence. Deshpande ‘Madam’, who is in charge of the playschool, makes sure her students learn basic concepts before they enter formal school, and that they are provided nutritious food. In this playschool, the midday meal of fruit, khichadi (rice with a variety of lentils), and some dry fruit such as dates, is considered as important as teaching the children to write the numbers 1 to100.
The samata.shiksha team met Kalyan Ambhore ‘Sir’, who seemed very popular with the students. He joined the school in 2012 and has, since then, focused on providing quality education to his students by making and using educational aids along with the textbooks. He has made such aids and resources for all school subjects, as he wants his students to excel in each one. You could say that even before the ‘Pragat Shikshanik Maharashtra’ programme was launched, Ambhore ‘Sir’ was making special efforts to make learning interesting and enjoyable.
The 3rd and 4th std students here have learned their mathematical concepts well. The school has the ‘Bhaskaracharya Ganit Samrudhikaran’ (Bhaskaracharya Maths Enrichment) kit, developed by the state’s Education Department – and the students make good use of it to learn the different mathematical operations. By using the blocks in this kit, they can depict fractions. The kit also contains geometric figures, which the students can pick up and describe, for instance with a square they can tell you it has four angles, that all its angles are right angles, and so on.
Ambhore ‘Sir’ has developed a set of cards that can be used to learn simple arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and the place value of digits. These laminated cards are distributed among the students so they can practise their Maths skills. ‘Sir’ says, “I believe that Maths requires a lot of practise but that is also the reason why it can become tedious . I have found that students pay more attention when they are constantly given different sums to solve. The textbooks have limited examples, so these cards offer a different set of sums to the students every time they need to practise.”
Ambhore ‘Sir’ has created 100-card sets for each mathematical operation. Since each card has a different problem, the student must solve it herself and cannot peep into her friend’s book for help. ‘Sir’ has used different colours for place values. Instead of using paper and pen, the students use ice cream sticks to solve the problems. For example, in order to calculate how 31 balloons may be divided equally among four boys, the student picks up three bunches of ten ice cream sticks each, along with a single ice cream stick. She then proceeds to divide these sticks into four groups, and then comes up with the answer that each boy will get seven balloons, and three will be left over. Students also solve addition, subtraction and multiplication sums in this manner.
Ambhore ‘Sir’ has also made laminated picture cards to aid students in the playschool and the 1st std in learning the alphabet. The pictures are drawn by his daughter Sneha, who is hearing-impaired. She draws beautifully, and enjoys making these cards and other educational aids for the young students.
The school has a lamination machine, and so it is easy to laminate the cards so that they survive the wear-and-tear, and rough handling by students.
The school has five teachers, all of whom teach with empathy. When our team visited, we saw a mentally disabled boy from the playschool and his teacher playing “bat-ball” as the boy recited the alphabet. Before and after school each day, half an hour is devoted to developing the students’ learning skills. All students take part in this activity, which may involve finding the meanings of English words, solving arithmetic sums orally, or even creating a story.
The school received a sum of Rs 28,000 in donations from the village community, which enabled the purchase of a projector, while the teachers pooled in a total of Rs 25,000 to buy a laptop. Now the students in this little village school are confident handling the computer.
The school is digital, and though only up to the 8th std, it has made the e-learning syllabus up to the 12th std available online for any student from the village who may wish to use this resource.
Blog and photos: Snehal Bansode-Sheludkar
Translation & editing: samata.shiksha team