Schoolyear 2010 Educational books and learning games Rohit Pradhan, Julee Pradhan (chairperson DUCES) and Stephanie Lücking visited a publishing company (EKTA) and a shop for school equipment. It is amazing to see the range of educational books, posters, maps and their good print quality. Rohit Pradhan will go there again with the teachers to make a good selection of educational material. The choice of learning games (wooden letters, puzzle, domino, and so on), playground equipment (slides, swings, plastic cars, rockers) is also convincing. Registration and opening The school programme was written by Rohit Pradhan in cooperation with teachers. As of November parents can register their children in our school. Our school will be opened on March 1, 2010 (start of school year in Darjeeling). We will start with children in two or three groups 3-6 years of age. We will introduce groups for older children transfering from other schools if necessary. Six rooms are available at first. The largest room will be allocated for the nursery class (three years old) in order to offer room for games. In future we want to offer a primary school with 8 classes. - Pre-Nursery or Playgroup (as of 2,5 years) Nursery (as of 3 years) Lower kindergarten (as of 4 years) - Upper kindergarten (as of 5 years) - Class 1 - 4 Background of pupils Our school wants to support underprivileged families. It shall provide a good school education for them in order to escape the circle of poverty. In particular we want to help children who end up in a situation without any chance (e.g. orphans, neglected children). We want to achieve our aim by means of low school fees and subsidies for families granted by our association (e. g. school fund). In addition we are looking for families and children who cannot afford school attendance at all. They can get a school partnership (pls. look at school partnership) March 1. 2010: Our school is open One year ago Rohit Pradhan celebrated the laying of the foundation stone together with his family, friends and Reverent Rupert. 22 children aged 2.5 to 4 years enjoyed their first school day in St. Anthonys School on March 1, 2010. The school bell rang at 930 am for the first time. Rohit Pradhan greeted parents, teachers and the pupils in their school uniform. Rohits brother in law, a protestant pastor, arrived from Mirik (about 2 hours away from Darjeeling) to issue sermon and blessing for the school. After that Rohit Pradhan and the teacher Ms. Basnet gave a speech. Then the most exciting part of the ceremony for the children followed. They could try out playground equiments like skid and rocker. Later on Julee Pradhan (1st chairperson of our partner association DUCES) gave a chocolate bar to each pupil. Official School opening April 1. 2010 We, - five founder members and six people sponsoring pupils - finally had the occasion to admire the (not entirely finished) St. Anthonys school in Darjeeling beginning of April. Our dreams came true. Deeply moved we opened the school building together with our partner Rohit Pradhan after a construction period of almost one year. We welcomed 23 pupils in a new school with 5 classrooms. The regular school operation started on March 1 with two 1st grade classes. The team in Darjeeling did a great job especially during the last weeks before school opening. Our partner Rohit Pradhan explained to us that every morning there was new energy to get closer to the goal. We looked at the faces of the children who enjoy playing with slide and rocker. We met their parents holding the sponsor´s photos in her hands overwhelmed by their financial support. This confirms our great enthusiasm with this project. The effort is worth it. The opening ceremony took place on April 1 with about 60 guests. Rohit Pradhan and Stephanie Lücking opened the school entrance symbolically. Afterwards the 11 European guests unveiled the schools banner. Children and adults endowed the traditional shawls representing gratitude and best wishes. Blessings from Ms Pradhan (Rohits mother) and speeches from Ms Basnet (teacher), Rohit Pradhan and a local politician followed later on. We realized that our school project is accepted and highly estimated by the locals. Stephanie Lücking also held a speech that was translated into German by Tika Bogati (a Nepalese friend living in Germany) for our guests from the Netherlands and Germany. Highlight of the ceremony was the performance of our 23 pupils age 2 to 4 years. They rehearsed dances and songs together with their teachers and performed them on stage. The ceremony ended with the singing of the national anthem. We strongly want to express our gratitude to all of those who helped us with donations. They made such a quick actualization of our idea possible. We hope we will be able to find more sponsors for the last remaining works and to secure the running of the school. We wish to be able to help more and more children in need for education and to help them break the circle of poverty so they can find a good place in society and will be able to help their families as well. Tree planting, June 2010 Every year there is a “week of environment” in Darjeeling. Our school participated in designing and producing posters. Pupils and teachers also planted a peach tree, a pear tree and 2 broad-leaved trees. At the end of the week every child got a banana and some cookies. September\October 2010 Stephanie Lücking (president) and Leonhard Kleinschmidt (special education student) travelled to Darjeeling end of August. Leonard Kleinschmidt worked in our school as a trainee for four weeks. A sabbatical year allows Stephanie Lücking to go to Darjeeling in September/Oktober 2010 and March-April 2011. On location she can take part in school life and talk to teachers, the headmaster and DUCES board members about the future development of the school. Detailed conversation with Rohit Pradhan (headmaster and managing director of our partner association DUCES) about the school year 2011 Registration for the new school year is going on since October 2010. The new school year will begin March 7, 2011. Teachers and nursery nurses visited families in the surroundings to inform families about the new school. Some parents decided to register their children in December 2010. They can pay the complete school fee or a part of it. The conditions (e.g. committed teachers and school direction, good building, toys, health insurance for the children) are very good. In addition our school fee is small compared to other schools in Darjeeling. Our idea is to run the school with a mixture of paying and financially supported families. Therefore we will admit 12 -15 pupils to our school supported by direct sponsorship or by our association. The selection of the supported children is one of the most difficult tasks for Rohit Pradhan. The procedure for this will be like last year: First information about the families will be collected and then we will visit them in their home (more hovels to German standard) to get an impression of their life conditions. We like to start a new prenursery class (children at the age of 2.5 to 3 years) and complete the other classes (nursery and lower kindergarden) according to our demand. We have decided that the maximum number of pupils in a class shall be 15. At least one new teacher is needed for the next school year. 2 of 9 applicants for the teaching position were selected after the interviews. The final decision will be taken in February. Perhaps it is possible to employ both applicants. Homework mentoring is planned for the next year, because many parents are not able to read or write. They cannot support their children when doing homework. We will offer literacy courses for interested parents. Following events are scheduled for the coming school year: - Start of school year March 7 - Half-year exam beginning of July - Environmental day on July 14 (tree plant event) within the Forestry Week - School excursion - Teachers Day on September 5 - Final exam beginning of December - Christmas party - Blood Donation day (parents) Exchange of ideas with teachers Leonhard Kleinschmidt and Stephanie Lücking supported the teachers at work respectively introduced new exercises for pupils. There is a curriculum for children at the age of 2.5 to 3 years in India. It comprises the area of numbers, letters, colors, rhymes and language exercises. In addition the English language is introduced. There is a fixed schedule like in European schools. The pupils sit at a table and do their exercises using books and booklets. They learn rhymes and songs by heart. Active games can be played outside thanks to the big playground. Pupils can play with a rocker, rocker horse, slide and so on after the breakfast break. The teaching of such study contents with weekly tests, midterm and final exams is unfamiliar to people in Germany. It even seems daunting to us. But when we observed the motivation and discipline of the pupils learning numbers and letters and doing their homework voluntarily, we were deeply impressed and got into thinking. We had the possibility to discuss teaching methods and report cards with teachers. From the very beginning we did not want to dictate the teaching process. In springtime Stephanie Lücking will once again have the opportunity to prepare and communicate specific teaching contents. Now she knows the skills and needs of the pupils. The youngest pupils will get the largest classroom, which will be furnished in a more appropriate way for the pupils. Highlights in September 2010 Play and fun Leonard Kleinschmidt and Stephanie Lücking tried to introduce a new game every day. The children liked playing with the parachute towel in particular. Manual training Leonard and the children made a car out of a plastic bottle, bamboo sticks and twisted caps during handicraft class. Sandbox After four days of work the sandbox was inaugurated. Thank you once again to all people donating toys for the sandbox. We decided to have the children playing at the border of the sandbox. They should get accustomed to the rules (e. g. do not throw sand). The precaution was not necessary. The children were playing with sand mold and shovel. We did not take into account that it is not easy to get the sand off the childrens clothes and faces. Friday will be the day for playing in the sandbox in future because this is the day for having a bath at home (the school director hopes). Teachers day The teachers day was celebrated on September 5. All parents were present and the teachers had prepared a small event program (dances, citation of rhymes, speeches). Teachers, school board and we as guests received the traditional Kattas (scarves) in return for our commitment. Zoo visit A zoo visit took place on September 24. Free admission and packed lunch was donated by the zoo administration. Some parents accompanied the children during their first zoo visit. This made possible a half hour walk with the children that were fascinated by boars, tigers, leopards, pandas, fish and parrots. It was a splendid day for all participants leading to the idea to make a zoo visit every school year. December 2010 On December 10th 2010 there was a christmas party with report cards and awards. First there was a small entertainment program with various shows. The children showed dances and read rhymes. Then the report cards were handed over. In India there is a custom that the best ones are honored first. On top of that there was a special Honoring for one pupil because she had attended school every single day. Of course, there was a little present for all the other children to honor Winter in Darjeeling In Darjeeling schools and public offices are closed during the winter months since without heating it would be too cold to sit in the classroom. Families who have another home or relatives in the lower regions mostly go there where it´s warmer. So from the beginning of December until the beginning of March we have winter vacation and St. Anthony`School remains closed. back