Day Four – Meeting the children at school.

Today started early with a quick breakfast before the taxi picked us up to go to the Sir Padampat Singhania Education Centre. We passed the usual pigs, cattle and dogs as we made our way there.

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On arrival we were greeted by Bhawna who you will remember visiting us in June. We immediately noticed that the school appeared to be very large. First we were taken to meet the children in Sections 1 and 2 (the same as our Year 1 and Year 2). The children had prepared the story of the Hindu goddess Durga. At the moment this goddess is being celebrated in a festival called Navratri lasting nine days. During these nine days adults do not eat or drink , this is called fasting. In the story Durga fights a demon for nine nights and then she finally destroys him. The children performed this for us and the narrator told the story in English.

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Next we went to a dance lesson for the Early Years section. The children were practising a dance which will be performed at a school celebration. We were lucky enough to join in and the dance teacher tried to teach us the moves!

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After this we visited several more classes where children shared their learning with us. We were very impressed with their handwriting and presentation. We found out that children from an early age practise their handwriting in their workbooks

In our next class which was Section 3 the teacher was a wonderful storyteller and she was retelling the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. She chose a little girl who helped her tell the story with lots of expression. We were amazed to learn that they had only been learning the story for two sessions. Harpreet’s daughter is also in Section 3 and it was her class that we visited next. Here we were pleased to be able to teach the children how to make Loom Band bracelets. The children were excited and helped each other to make bracelets. We were so busy working with the children that Harpreet had to remind us several times that the Principal was waiting for us.  What do you notice about the photographs of the classrooms which may be different to ours?

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Meeting the Principal was interesting, we learned that he had been the Principal for eleven years and this was the third school that he had been in charge of. He also told us that he is fasting at the moment and that he prays for two hours before and after school. We discussed the similarities and differences between our school and theirs, one of the main ones is the size.

After our tea we returned to the same area of the school and went into an art lesson. The children were working at low tables, sitting on the floor and were busily colouring their drawings of a dog. They were all keen to share the artwork in their books and we could see that they had been working hard. Next door to the art room we watched 6 children practising a traditional Indian dance, special parts to this dance included slapping their bare feet on the marble floor, shaping their bodies and practising their intricate finger movements.

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As our time was running out, we moved to a singing class. Our experience here was action-packed, the children sang a number of songs to us and we were able to join in one particular song called Give me Oil in my Lamp’. After they had finished we showed the children how to use the ‘finger flexers’ that our Year 6 children had made. We were interested to learn that Bhawna and Harpreet had also made and played with these as children and that their name for them was ‘Crows and Parrots’. Why do you think they gave them this name?
When the children had taken turns answering your questions, they were excited to learn that we had more with blank spaces in which they could write questions for you to answer.

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Finally our day at Sir Padampat Singhania Education Centre ended with an interview with a reporter from a local newspaper which Bhawna has promised to share with us.

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