Teachers are no fear factors here!

Fun learning

Old is gold Chamarajendra Ursu Boarding School is aiming to regain its past glory by making children enjoy learning at the kindergarten level .  DH photo by Anurag Basavaraj

“Keep quiet,” is the oft heard phrase employed by teachers in schools. Because, whenever children are around, silence is rarely heard!

Yet, when you enter the kindergarten class at Chamarajendra Ursu Boarding School and Vanivilasa Ursu Girls School, a ghostly silence engulfs you. Making you gasp in amazement is the sight of children - learning on their own - in ‘Pin drop silence’.

Two years back, teachers here - like instructors elsewhere - were trying frantically to create some order among the tiny tots - most of the times in vain. However, in just two years time something changed wonderfully to make children completely immersed in learning.

The change apparently started with the introduction of the Montessori system of education that aims at providing children the independence to learn on their own.

Describing the metamorphosis, school mentor Girija Vishwas  said that children aren’t forced to learn anything at the school. Children are introduced to the self-directed method of learning, with initial focus on Kannada as a basic language.

The learning includes allowing kids to trace letters on letter pads (kids have to trace alphabets only using their fingers, instead of writing material), followed by finger strengthening exercises such as picking up objects using miniature forceps and transferring water from one container to another.

With a children-centric approach, learning material stress on a combination of pictures, objects and words.

“Children need to be exposed to the sense of touch, to help them learn faster,” mentions Girija.

Also Girija mentions that children are never stopped from taking a glimpse at their seniors knowledge material.

“If an LKG student wants to learn from a UKG kid, we never stop them. The system aims at encouraging children to come forward and ask the teacher about the new techniques,” she adds.

While the use of the ‘stick’ has completely stopped, Bhargavi of the Indian Institute of Montessori Studies, says, “The fear of the teacher goes away. They become more approachable and more curious and try to ask for more. Some kids have even started reading words from newspapers.” A few kindergarten children caught the attention of this reporter, by reading complete words from newspapers.

While the children are enjoying by learning and playing at the same time, doesn’t it take a toll on the teachers. “Not at all,” say kindergarten teachers Devaki, Nalini and Poornima.

The teachers say that children pick-up the book on their own and approach them. We assist them and prompt them to learn, say the enthusiastic trio.

While the school set out to provide education to all during its initial stages, Sri Jayachamaraja Ursu Education Trust President Pramoda Devi Wadiyar believes that the montessori system of education also needs to reach children of all income groups of the society.

Pramoda Devi opined that children from lower income families are in no way inferior to others.

Proud that more than 80 per cent  of the children at the school are from families of lower income groups, Pramoda Devi said that kids aren’t selected on the basis of interviews and the school doesn’t conduct any filtering; as is done in a few so-called elite schools.

Our motivation is to pick-up whoever comes to our school and make them competitive, she adds with a charming smile.

Having become the Trust President just two years ago, a determined Pramoda Devi said,
“”The aim is to bring it back to its glory.”

Even parents have expressed their whole-hearted support to the education system being followed here. Wafa, a parent, believes that the children are learning faster.

“Nowadays, we don’t need to force them to study. If we try to help them with studies, they kids tell us to just sit next to us - and they continue reading,” she said proudly

School history

The Chamarajendra Ursu Boarding School and Sri Vanivilasa Ursu Girls School built in 1892 and 1913 respectively are among the oldest schools in Mysore. The schools are presently being managed by the Sri Jayachamaraja Ursu Education Trust, which was set-up in 1957 by late Jayachamaraja Wadiyar.

Chamarajendra Ursu Boarding School has 634 students (LKG to 10th) in  both Kannada and English medium, while Vanivilasa Ursu Girls School has 729 students, (LKG to 10th std). The Chamarajendra Ursu Boarding School has 64 children including 38 in LKG and 26 UKG, while Vanivilasa Ursu Girls School has 21 in LKG and 16 in UKG pursuing studies under the montessori system.

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