April 5th, 2018:
This morning, we ventured for the first time to Himalayan Public School (HPS) Suyalgarh and began our day with introductions and an orientation of the school. Needless to say, we were eager to begin the projects.
With the support of Ishita and Sunita, Shari conducted the reading pretests with class 5 and 6 students. These pretests measure students’ current reading levels and will better our understanding of literacy rates as students use SiMBi over time. Geared towards improving student literacy, SiMBi is an online reading resource that teaches students from kindergarten to high school using a combination of phonics, sight words, and fluency drills.
Sukriti and Kishan administered distance surveys with various classes for the purpose of comprehending the journey students take to get to and from school each day.
Ruchi, accompanied by Philli, Sonja, and local self-taught art teacher, Mahima led students in an art project. The students huddled around Ruchi with genuine engagement and concentration as she explained their task. Moments like these are invaluable to teachers and Mahima is really quite lucky to have the opportunity to teach these students every day. They drew imaginative patterns in wax crayons and applied watered down paint to allow their crayon designs to emerge. These pieces, in addition to others created in the upcoming days, will be collected for the book Ruchi is producing in collaboration with TWSB and Pratham Books.
Philli captured the student’s artwork. Her sincere interest in each student allowed them to feel proud of the work they accomplished – this was very apparent by their smiling faces as they lined up to take a picture.
After a day of hard work, the team stopped for chai and returned to the guest house where we were welcomed with another tasty traditional meal. We concluded our evening dancing to popular Indian music and watched the lightning storm in the distance over the hills.
It was remarkable to see months of effort finally come to fruition.