Along with academic enrichment and a love for knowledge, equal importance is given to co-curricular activities. Part of the school day is devoted to a wide range of opportunity in the areas of sports, music, dance, theatre and other interests such as gardening, waste management, chess, cooking and more. Children can recognise and develop their own strengths through various activities, both inside and outside the classroom.
Sports give us a perspective of space, time and relationships. They are not just about playing a game. Sports teach the spirit of sharing, how to contribute to a team for the welfare of all involved, how to give and take, and how to handle both success and failure.
Children are introduced to Physical Education from Grade 1. They are exposed to various activities that include running, jumping, catching and other forms of movement. Movement is essential for all round development and facilitates learning, not just for the body, but also for the mind and the emotions. Body and spatial awareness, harmony with the environment, a feeling of wellbeing and fitness are all enhanced through sports, keeping in mind individual interests and abilities.
Head Start has dedicated teachers and facilities for sports. Children take part in sporting activities every day. In addition, they are encouraged to take part in organized games with other schools on a regular basis, intra-league events, our Annual Sports Day and also our Head Start Friendship Games in which the number of participating schools is increasing every year.
We believe that the development of eye-hand coordination and physical fitness awareness can help build a sportsperson for life. When children are given the opportunity to enhance this coordination they develop skills that enable them to play a variety of sports and they can play almost any sport for a good part of their lives. Sporting activities are great levelers, as well as being great companions to life.
The sporting arena is a place to learn how to manage our emotions with grace and accept the outcome on any day. Competition can bring out a side of us that we may not like to look back upon. When we are participating in a group sport or an individual sport with others involved, we face all kinds of situations; we learn to deal with these different exposures. Life will be full of challenges or uncomfortable moments as well as some joyful ones; sporting arenas are great places to learn not only about others but also about oneself.
Children who wish to try out for our school teams participating at an inter-school level, are encouraged to do so. Our selection process to these teams is transparent to all. To be part of a team, a sense of commitment is required as well as a sense of purpose. Those who choose to play just to participate and enjoy a sport may do so, and a lot of opportunity will be provided to them within the school, through our yearly football, basketball, tennis, hockey, handball, table tennis intraleague, Sports Day and other events.
We use our sports events to highlight the spirit of acceptance. We also encourage parents to exhibit the same spirit, as we are working together.
The importance of music in a child’s development cannot be overstated. Music is as important as language and mathematics and involves similar areas of the brain. We have a large and enthusiastic music team committed to helping children enjoy music.
Music at Head Start is for everyone. It fills our corridors on a regular basis. It is a language everyone can understand. Passing by our Music Block, one can hear guitars being strummed, keyboards being played, violins resonating, rhythmic tablas, percussion instruments, and so much more.
Every child gets to enjoy music in one form or the other. Music at Head Start is not taught with the objective of just learning songs or melodies but with the learning of basic fundamentals, such as rhythm, melody, feel, perhaps leading on to compositions of ones own. The child enjoys this process and builds on it. We strongly believe that the learning of a melody or song is easier once the basics are strong, hence we do not start with just tunes but rather with technique and notation, or sur and taal.
Children can choose an instrument or do vocal training. We have a range of instruments, Indian (classical or folk) and Western. Music gives opportunities for individual enjoyment as well as working in harmony with a group – making music together.
The aim of the programme is to expose children to music and encourage them to enjoy learning it. Learning to play an instrument well can take time and patience. We encourage our learners to persist with their chosen instrument for a sustained period so that they can play and understand it well over time, building a relationship with not only the music but with the instrument they play as well. Children practice individually and together and share their music with school audiences regularly.
Some of our children have collaborated with musicians from other parts of India and have enjoyed participating in the creation of in-house original music. One such example was with folk musicians in Jaisalmer. Through this exposure and interaction children were able to understand folk music. These particular children have a base in classical music and were amazed by the skill level of folk musicians; they came across certain percussion and melody instruments for the first time. It was truly an enriching experience for us all at Head Start, first visiting Jaisalmer and making music there, and then welcoming the musicians from Rajasthan at our school and spending a week working with them on our own campus.
We are continuously evolving our programme and trying to connect music to various other art forms, thus building up an appreciation of all artistic forms of expression.
Theatre is an integral part of learning and is about expression in many forms. It involves so much more than just putting up a play. It goes beyond acting or directing. There are many components to consider – an idea, a thought, and how to share this idea and thought. It moves from an idea to the writing of a script, learning how to demonstrate it through words, actions, or various movements. There are children who are thinkers, some are actors, many write beautifully; others enjoy creating scenic aspects, constructing a stage set, thinking of the lighting or costumes, or wondering about the interaction with an audience.
Children are encouraged to write their own plays or create a theme around which they wish to work. It is the ‘process’ that is important, and bringing it all together as a group, makes it meaningful and worthwhile.
Our theatre facilitators are actors themselves, and have worked on different components of theatre. They enjoy sharing their dramatic experiences with our children and in turn, helping them to develop their learning.
Our theatre programme is constantly linked to learning happening in the classroom. It develops and enhances the understanding of literature, history, science and all knowledge, becoming a platform to play out realistic life situations and go through the emotions and experiences involved.
Travel and Learning
Travel and field trips are planned regularly, guided by our senior staff. We think of such excursions as learning experiences that complement what we have done in the classroom. Being away from home and familiar environs during travel does provoke deep learning. In seeing new places and faces, children understand the diversity and wonder of the world. Travel is fundamentally soulful and energising.
Day field trips are organised for Grades 1 and 2. Grade 3 are introduced to their first overnight trip. Grades 4 and above have longer excursions to different parts of the country which are connected to various fields of research and study undertaken by our children. They learn to take responsibility for themselves during these excursions, handle different situations, understand group dynamics and look out for each other.
Art is perspective; it is uniqueness; it is individual; it is everywhere. Art is part of the day-to-day curriculum and part of our learning. It comes into every subject and every practice.
Children are natural artists and bring an originality and unique perspective to their work. We look forward to seeing their interesting creations. Creativity cannot be taught; it has to evolve. This can happen all the time or at any given moment; it should not be crushed, or the idea, the inspiration or the moment will be lost forever!