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All the students visit the library once a week to borrow books. Vincent Raja K, the librarian says that there are 10,000 books in English and 2,000 in Tamil. There are very good resource books for project research. Books are arranged separately for students and teachers. Wherever there is a need the students are given support to collect more information by browsing on the internet. Janaki, our typist helps to prepare worksheets and to prepare multiple copies. Reading habits are well nutured by inviting the students to further readings after lunch.
We thank the staff, students and parents of the Singapore American School for their support during the past three years, donating books.
Students from the 4th to 8th grades have at least 3 hours of computer classes per week, and even more if they choose computer as an optional class.
Vadivelu, who taught himself how to use the computer by reading manuals, teaches by showing the students a sample of something that the students might want to do; for example, a postcard-size invitation with a story inside. He then asks them: “Do you think we can do something like this?” All the students go to the internet and find images and software they can download to do the project. Sometimes, he asks them to bring an example of what they would like to do in class. “My Dad did this; how did he do it?”
Vadivelu says, “They teach me through their questions. For example they say to me, ‘I will have cashew fields to take care of when I graduate, so why do I need to use a computer?’ Then, I let them learn that they can get information from the internet about fertilizers and natural insecticides, crop yield, or packaging and processing. They see that the computer is a tool.
Students also learn by watching videos, responding to questions and completing on-line quizzes. They attempt challenging assignments and step toward mastering significant technological skills, all while exercising their knowledge of English. If the students’ English is not strong, they cannot read the information on the net. As their English improves, by 8th standard we will be able to develop more technical skills such as using Photoshop or other software.”
Principal Shankar introduces the carpentry workshop for hands-on learning.
Swimming and Sports
Savitri teaching swimming.
Swimming is an important part of the curriculum at Aikiyam, and each child from Lower Kindergarten (LKg) to 8th grade has at least one hour per week of swimming. We have a small pool on campus for the younger children, while those in grades 6, 7, and 8 go to La Piscine, the 25 metre pool at the New Creation Sports Complex.
Savitri, who runs the Sports and Swimming Program at New Creation Sports Complex writes:
"The sports program for Aikiyam School was established in 1992; it takes place every school day from 4-5pm; 100 children from the surrounding villages of Auroville attend. They are the 4th to 8th grade students in Aikiyam School.
All the major sports activities such as basketball, volleyball, running, swimming and athletics are practiced.
In house competitions (Aurolympics) take place on a yearly basis, comprising an athletic season (jumps, running, shot put) and a team season (basketball, volleyball, running, swimming). A celebration at the end of the school year is also part of Aurolympics, when awards and sweets are handed out to all the participants."
The main great progress and innovation has been the swimming program in the 25m swimming pool; students from 6th to 8th grades are able to develop their swimming skills, even the girls, which is unique in rural India. It’s been wonderful to see the Aikiyam school girls adopt swimming suits and fearlessly jump into the water. The swimming program, which has been happening since 2004, has definitely pioneered a novel approach to sports in this region.
Goals for next year:
To teach 'life saving' at the swimming pool, thereby enabling students to know how to save lives and help others. This activity was started at the beginning of 2015 school year and the students have so far enjoyed it a lot.
Thananjayan teaching swimming to the younger children in the small pool
Thanajayan is the swimming instructor at the small pool. He explains that in Lower Kindergarten (LKg) the idea is for the child to get used to the water and to overcome his or her fear of water, which has been instilled by the parents. These children have never been taken by their parents to the ocean or to a pond or river. In the crèche they proceed very slowly so the child gets used to water, touching and feeling the water. Later they learn to swim. For LKg he is assisted by class teachers. For the older children this is not necessary because they all know how to swim. They do exercises such as breathing and blowing, lap stretching, leg stretching, and frog movement.