‘Thank You’ will not suffice in all situations. We are trying to instill this in our students at Nalapad Academy and Nalapad Nest, our preschool. A simple ‘thank you’ does not do justice to what we have received from nature, our family, our community, our friends, our school, our teachers, etc.We practice this by doing a few simple things:
“Thank you” should be heartfelt & mandatory
At Nalapad Academy, saying thank you like you mean it, is inculcated in students. It begins at home with your parents, your house help, the delivery boy who brings in milk & it can be anyone they come across daily, like a waiter in the restaurant, their sibling who helps them choose toys or a friend who gives them their favourite toy, as a birthday present. They thank their teachers, their servers in the cafeteria, the didis who help them with little things at school, the bus driver who drives them to & fro from school, etc.
Lead by example
Nalapad Nest implemented many strategies for our young students to practice what they learn enthusiastically. They replicate the teachers’ attitude and behaviour at school. The dependency on teachers is at its peak in the early years. The teachers are not only a shadow for their parents but also a shadow to mould them into grateful individuals. The teachers express gratitude for the food they receive, the education they have, for good schools, for all the facilities, and so do the students. They also clone and mimic their seniors that they look upto. They watch them thank their helpers, teachers, peers, servers and others at school which motivates the younger lot to do the same. For a new student, the founding role models are their parents. It is emphasized that they practice all they learn at home and school consistently. Students are rewarded for good behaviour and counselled for inappropriate behaviour.
Gratitude is a feeling
At Nalapad Academy, teachers induce the thought of appreciating everything around us, small or big. Talking to the little students about the beauty of a bright day, expressing happiness about meeting the students everyday, the fun of spending time with them, and appreciating them for the little things they do during the day. This sparks the thought of gratitude and its significance. We educate the children to do the same by taking time each day to concentrate on the good aspects of life, loving parents, grandparents, like coming to school, seeing their friends, comfortable homes, toys they have, good food, nature. They will grow up appreciating the things in their life early. An everyday activity that is stringently practiced is, sharing one thing with the class you are grateful for. It is done by a teacher & the students imitate the teacher, hence thankfulness is included into their everyday routine.
Giving back to the society
Thanksgiving is one occasion that provides a very open opportunity to support the desire to be able to give. Donating toys, old clothing , stationary etc are practised by children to be grateful for their own privilege and helping the underprivileged. Visiting different shelters like old age homes and orphanages is a part of social responsibility that we practice after the preschool years too. Make a conscious effort to use the shortage and unavailability of very basic needs, at the shelters as motivation to want to do more. Teach the students through pictures, videos and shelter visits, the lack of food to eat, lack of appropriate clothing, the lack of a joyful environment etc.The impact of visuals is way stronger than any theoretical teaching.
In a nutshell, practicing gratitude everyday in each small way possible will foster it as a way of life in the students, rather than choosing it as an option. Gratitude is a valuable life skill and it has lost its essence in other areas of life, but education has the potential to revive it and induce it as an inseparable way of life. This is our motto at Nalapad Academy.