Learning Matters Foundation seeks to pioneer creative ways of teaching, based on sound research, to ensure success and joy in learning for all school going children.
I was impressed with their in-depth knowledge on early childhood when I recently attended an informative “Coffee Morning” for parents at their school. I learnt about the school’s emphasis on self-initiated play for young children in order to inculcate deep, farsighted learning.
Thereafter, the founder, Sonya Philip, invited me to witness a professional development workshop that the foundation was invited to conduct for a leading private school in New Delhi.
Participants of the Workshop
THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP:
With two post-graduate degrees in education from the United States, including one in special education, and close to 40 years in the field of education, the founder, Sonya Philip and her talented team, were the best choice for this task.
This sixty-hour workshop was conducted for over fifty primary school teachers, over 10 days at their school. It focused on their educational philosophy and the diversity prevalent in every classroom. The aim was to create experiential lessons in the content areas of science, social studies, language arts and mathematics in K to 5th grade classrooms.
I attended two days of the workshop. Here, I witnessed the participants’ active engagement as they were exposed to various methods of hands-on teaching. Intuitively, as a parent, I found myself taking notes to help me teach my child new concepts.
Scenes from the workshop
THE KNOWLEDGE IMPARTED:
Most of the ideas and activities in the workshop involved creativity, problem solving, collaboration and thinking on one’s feet- qualities every child must have in today’s competitive world. For example, as a Social Studies activity, a land form was built using recycled craft supplies. Each teacher, playing the role of a student, took responsibility to build an essential portion for a city/town to survive. While some chose houses and hospitals, others went for parks and markets. This collaborative activity was fun and also creatively covered many aspects of the typical 3rd Standard Social Studies syllabus.
Building a city/town from recycled materials for a Social Studies activity
Another invaluable and fun aspect I witnessed, was the facilitation of language and reading skills through phonological awareness. While regular ways of introducing alphabets bore any child, a poem or story created around the sounds made by a particular alphabet, certainly won’t. “An Alligator on An Ambulance” is more fun than a simple “A for Apple”.
Participants enjoying the activities of the workshop
THE TEACHING METHODS:
The founder and educators at Learning Matters Foundation are inspired by the educational philosophy promoted by the Bank Street College of Education in USA and the Reggio Emilia Philosophy from Italy. Hence, the focus of the training at this workshop was drawn from a student-centred and constructivist approach that emphasises self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.
Another area of expertise that is synonymous with Learning Matters Foundation is in the neuroscience of learning i.e. “How” children learn along with “What” they learn.
The founder of the Learning Matters Foundation- Sonya Philip
WHY THESE WORKSHOPS ARE THE NEED OF THE HOUR:
Unfortunately, many classroom expectations are not in sync with child development. The prescribed curriculum and its implementation bypasses realistic expectations at each stage and age of a child. Many unrealistic and developmentally inappropriate expectations are thrust on children to meet academic benchmarks. Even though we are currently in an Information Age, our teaching philosophy and demands are stuck in the Industrial Age. How do we expect our children to excel and thrive in life when they are not excited by learning, and their imagination is not sparked to create, think critically, communicate and collaborate? Armed with decades-long experience and a strong understanding of international educational methods, the team behind Learning Matters Foundation is well-placed to address Delhi’s stagnant primary education system.
Though busy running their own Pre-school and afternoon classes for all ages of students at Qutub Institutional Area in Delhi, the team is keen to change the prevailing educational system. Their passion for teaching and firm belief in experiential learning has certainly converted me to a strong believer in their teaching methods- where learning is for meaning and not mere mindless covering of the curriculum.
The Learning Matters Foundation can be contacted here
*I’d like to thank Learning Matters Foundation for sponsoring this post. I only endorse brands that I have familiarised myself with, and whose vision I believe in. This brand is particularly close to my heart as I chose it for my son when he began his educational journey.
**All images courtesy Learning Matters Foundation.
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