After the first two weeks of school, the teachers and program manager Lakshmi felt the importance to meet the parents in a first introduction meeting on Saturday, June 29th. There were many reasons behind this decision:
First, the necessity to create a dialogue between the community and the school – one of the major objectives of the project. In our vision, families and school should cooperate in all aspects regarding the children’s lives. Second purpose was to explain the reasons behind our different educational approach, which is based on an active, group-centred and child-focused learning. Some parents were already asking: “Where are the books? I cannot see any homework on my child’s notebooks! What kind of classes are you offering?” We are happy that the parents noticed that our approach is significantly different. Now it’s our turn to show them that it can work!
In order to ensure clarity and to involve parents in our project, we divided the parents in three big groups: parents of first standard, senior kindergarten and junior kindergarten students. Every group of parents had the possibility to explore the classroom set-ups, interact directly with the teachers and to see the notebooks of their children and all the activities, which were conducted in the first two school weeks.
After the tour, Lakshmi and the teachers formally explained the origin of the collaboration between Reality Gives and the Royal City School and the values we stand for. The teachers as well as our teaching methods were introduced. Lakshmi also explained the importance of English, taught through interactive activities created to connect with the daily life of the children. They will learn every subject not through books and the teachers’ monologues, but through games which associate with their experiences outside of the school. “Writing will be the last thing that they will learn. First, we care about their comprehension. We deeply care whether they understand the meaning of words and the contents we teach. Once they get the meaning, they can start write. Otherwise, it will be just a senseless exercise” explained Lakshmi.
After that the parents were encouraged to ask questions and express their concerns. Some of them were happily impressed by our care and way of teaching. Others were asking if there was a need for tuitions after school.The entire team assured them that there is no reason to pay for additional education as the school time should ensure that all educational needs are met. Some parents were still concerned and sceptical. It will be our aim to convince them in the following months.
More than 175 parents attended the parents meeting. The debates were passionate, parents and families continually tried to communicate their different opinions. We know it is a long and challenging way, but we also think that this meeting was the real beginning of a community involvement.