At Nalapad Academy, physical fitness and social emotional well-being are as integral to a day in school as the academics and co-curricular activities. The world has witnessed a scare unparalleled. Isolation, fear & loss were the key elements through this pandemic.
Facing the world
The students young and old processed the situation well, but differently. With the constant counseling & support from parents and teachers; some were very calm, some anxious, some scared, some restless and some confused. Different strategies such as interesting ice breakers were conducted with different children to calm their jittery emotions. Some students of primary school spoke about their two-year journey through a picture they drew, some through a story of their choice, some narrated through free speech sessions wherein they could pour their heart out. We also had a face emoji game, where children chose facial expressions to tell their pandemic stories.
Coming back to school was different for everyone. Some of the early years students saw teachers and school for the first time. Lots of fun activities and games were organized so that they familiarize themselves with their teacher. The first week was entirely dedicated to the students breaking into the routine of school life. When they came in half awake the initial classes were fun and games which would stimulate their brains by running around and through the mind at play. They were not used to waking up so early to board the school bus and experience physical classes. The children were taken for a school tour to get them moving around and interested in their environment where they would be settling.
‘Separation anxiety’ took over many students as they were actually seeing other people apart from their immediate family after a long isolation. Some students came into Grade 1, primary years for the first time from their very sheltered preschool/early years setup. For them it was a new experience. Some came in from different schools and were homebound for 2 consecutive years. Meeting and accepting new friends and teachers
was a new challenge altogether. The teachers fostered as their mothers and friends to create their new comfort zones.
We boast of having achieved much more than we had anticipated when we switched to online from offline learning. We were not prepared that the demons of digital learning
would face off right amidst the state of familiarizing the children with technology. The attention span of children was always really short and it was a challenge to keep them focused and be productive at the same time. There was a lot of screen time which we
combated through activities not involving sitting facing the screen. The other challenge was to educate the children maneuvering through digital learning without attracting malware and inappropriate content.
We have our digital literacy practices in place ensuring children are skilled and equipped on this front. We are a tech-savvy school and ensure the use of technology among students, to its optimum. The students are educated on cyber bullying before they are equipped with devices independently. The elements that can negatively affect a child are all explained to them and are made aware of the ways to action it. Students are encouraged to bring it to the teachers notice at the first sighting of any offensive or rude content. Assemblies and roleplay were conducted to familiarize students on the different scenarios that they could possibly encounter and a way to practically and promptly tackle them even before they can play with their mental and emotional health.