We have learnt that a clean classroom can set the stage for an unhindered learning experience. Which is why Keystone School has undertaken a novel initiative, by giving our students the power to set right their immediate surroundings with the help of music.
At Keystone, pre-primary and primary grade children are taught to maintain basic hygiene of their learning environment with a fun little exercise that we like to call Discipline Through Music.
Their Home Room Teachers play their favourite rhyme or song and the tiny tots immediately get to work! They tidy up their desks, set right their bags and clear any work materials they worked on during that class hour with great ease, all the while singing along in a cherubic chorus.
Many might not consider imparting lessons on social consciousness to younger children. But at Keystone we believe that along with a concrete academic experience, a basic knowledge of social emotional learning is also important; with a fun musical twist of course!
In a fast-moving world, cultivating a sense of belonging and compassion in children is of paramount importance. Which is why Keystone School inculcates Circle Time into their daily schedule, where students and Designers across all Grades come together as a community of learners.
In a stark contrast to educators who follow a strict chalk-and-talk methodology, Circle Time at Keystone provides a platform that balances instruction and expression. We focus on socio-emotional learning that cannot be found in the pages of any book.
If the need for sharing is explained using simple terminology to the kindergartners, the higher grades are engaged in discussion pertaining to social issues. The positives and negatives of societal interactions are stripped down and explained in their rawest form
We treat children as the adults they aspire to become. And endorsing the need to make mistakes as a path to a realization is the first step in the right direction. With Circle Time, we not only believe in imparting knowledge as responsible educators, but also in building a community of open-minded learners
We live in a world of boxes. Boxes like our houses, our cars, our workspaces. We step out of one box and into another, barely glancing over our shoulders to see a world that is moving so fast, in so many different directions. We don’t see the sky too often, we don’t stop to touch a flower. We are so out of touch with our planet, that it is simply reduced to a platform we stand on now.
At Keystone, we want our little ones to grow up not just ON this planet but WITH it. We believe that lessons cannot predominantly be taught only inside a classroom. Being aware, empathetic and in touch with the world outside is essential in growing as a citizen of the world. Allowing them to explore and discover out in the open is an integral part of a well-rounded educational journey The students, this year at Keystone, experienced farming from step one till the very end of the spectrum. We visited various nurseries, where the students were exposed to the different types of soil and understood the importance of climatic conditions. Adding to the excitement, they even got to meet farmers who answered all their inquisitive questions.
Basic farming methods, the tools that are used, the concept of plant transplantation and the importance of distance between seeds were some of the invaluable lessons picked up through this experience. The students even interviewed teachers from Keystone coming from different parts of the country to study the kind of crops grown in their native places.
To put all this learning into practise, we allocated a small portion of area at the school itself and created our own farm with the required amount of red soil, seeds and our newly acquired knowledge in farming. With unparalleled excitement and compassion, the students looked after this farm. And lo and behold, we reaped what we sowed. The students were ecstatic to see their Brinjal, Tomato, Spinach and other leafy vegetable plants come to life.
Apart from all the technical lessons about farming that this experience offered, the students were brought closer to their environment. They learnt so much about something that is a livelihood for a large majority of people in our country. They grew, in more ways than one.
Amidst being architects, artists, dancers and everything else this year, Keystone students were farmers too. This lesson didn’t come written in a book, but we can say it with utmost surety, these are the ones that will stick the longest.
You see, right now, Indian parents are worried that their children will stop becoming Engineers and Doctors after getting inspired by PV Sindhu. The question is why would parents worry about anything? If they want to become a Doctor, an Engineer, or the next Olympic medal winner, they just need to be doing what they are passionate about. But do we know what it takes to really nurture that child?
A key challenge for 21st-century schools involves serving culturally diverse students with varied abilities and motivations for learning. A comprehensive mission for schools is to educate students to be knowledgeable, responsible, socially skilled, healthy, caring, and contributing citizens. Over and above the regular academic curriculum, something more needs to be introduced to children in their formative years in order for them to BE ANYTHING they want to be. This is called Social Emotional Learning.
According to ‘’Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. ‘’ Researchers generally agree upon five key competencies of SEL :
Let us look at each of these components and understand the benefits in a child’s growth and development.
- Self awareness – This involves comprehending one’s own emotions asking questions like – what are my thoughts and feelings, what is the source of these feelings and how is it best expressed. It also includes a strengths and weakness analysis.
- Self management – This involves regulating one’s emotions and behaviors. This addresses questions like – what is the best possible response to this situation. It involves goal setting and organizational skills too.
- Social awareness – This involves the ability to empathize, and feel compassion for those with different backgrounds or cultures. Largely, this addresses understanding social norms and behavior.
- Relationship skills – This involves establishing and maintaining healthy relationships through communication, cooperation, negotiation, refusal, and conflict management.
- Responsible decision making – This involves learning how to make the right choices by situation analysis and problem identification. It requires the ability to consider ethical standards, safety concerns, accurate behavioral norms for risky behaviors, the health and well-being of self and others, and to make realistic evaluation of various actions’ consequences.
Let us all pledge to raise a “whole-child”. Let us approach education in a way where we enable a holistic perspective that aims to nurture the full range of skills and capacities that will help children of today become healthy adult of tomorrow.
We, at Keystone School, instill these concepts by handing over control to students. Our very competent and well trained teachers and educators bring SEL programs to the system and equip children with ability to have the confidence to BE ANYTHING.
Social Emotional Learning at Keystone school comes with a message – ‘’Never outgrow your inner superhero’’.