He replied that after researching many schools he came to know of the school’s approach towards students, which made him choose this school. He noted that his children always hated holidays because they couldn’t come to school. He also added that many of his friends and relatives were against his choice.
Dr. Pat Montgomery asked, “What made you trust this school?”
The parent replied that initially they were concerned, but as years went by they saw their child’s development and so learned to trust the school. The parent discussed the values their children have developed through the school’s guidance. They said that the school gave importance to the holistic development of the child, not marks.
The parents noted that the faculty kept in touch with the alumni. Ms Prachi Jha was surprised to hear that the alumni- teacher relationship continues past graduation.
A guest asked how the teachers developed the patience to implement such an intensive approach to the children. Teachers replied that they are given three years of training under the guidance of senior teachers during which they work to achieve patience.
When asked how they manage when two children are involved in a fight or conflict, they answered that it becomes a team effort with other faculty. They listen to each of the children separately, letting each know that the teacher recognizes his or her feelings. Depending on the age of the child, the teachers may appeal to reason or simply distract the child in a positive direction.
Alumni joined in the discussion describing the freedom they felt in the school and the lack of pressure to achieve high marks, which contrasted with the experiences of friends in other schools. One, who has become a teacher at the school, remarked that he never realized how hard the teachers were working to make learning easy and fun for the students. Now he appreciates this.
Dr. Montgomery observed that in most schools the respect students show to their teachers is created and enforced through fear. Here, she observed that students and alumni show a natural and spontaneous respect for their teachers.
Dr. Montgomery asked the alumni how the school helped them in their life. Their reply was that they could apply practical knowledge, that they had learned to focus mentally, developed patience, and learned values. The alumnus also shared his experience of how teachers helped him in developing and about the care teachers gave him.
Teachers also shared the experience of certain parents who had different opinions about education than those practiced in the school but later came to appreciate the results in their children. Alumni said they advise their peers and relatives to send their children to our school.
Interactive Sessions for Alumni and Students
An interactive session for 11th and 12th standard students was conducted by Ms. Lina Ghotmeh, and attended by many interested parents and alumni. One alumna, herself an architecture student, not only attended but brought one of her professors, who was delighted to have the opportunity to hear this renowned architect speak. Ms. Ghotmeh gave a PowerPoint presentation showing several of the innovative buildings she had designed. One of her most recent projects in Paris is an experiment to build an ecologically sustainable building. She described different methods of constructing sustainable buildings to reduce carbon footprint and manage waste. She suggested that the children sketch a drawing of the relation between the school spaces and nature and took time to critique their suggestions and innovative ideas.
Dr. Anne Stillman, from Cambridge University, England, gave a workshop on poetry to the 8th standard children. She began by asking what difficulties the students had in writing poems. The children answered that it was hard to find rhyming words and the precise word to express their thoughts. “We don’t have words for some situations so we make up words.”
Dr. Stillman introduced nonsense verse through the example of Edward Lear. She discussed some poems that they read and asked the students to interpret the accompanying illustrations. Then the students were asked to write a poem of their own and illustrate it.
Children enjoyed the session and each of them gave a word of thanks. They presented her with sonnets they had written previously.