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One more week to send in your entry #TheCityasMuse

We’ve got in some interesting entries for #TheCityasMuse contest.

I’m excited that all sort of fun people are writing in…from teenage schoolchildren to professionals, from travel enthusiasts to foodies, from bloggers to those making their first attempts at writing. The entries are pouring out straight from their hearts and that’s exactly what the ethos of #TheCityasMuse is!

What? You haven’t sent in your entry yet? What’re you waiting for?

Just take half an hour out from your super busy schedule. Transport yourself to that place you love, admire, yearn for, detest, want desperately to improve….. And then write or draw your feelings and experiences! Mail it in to ramblinginthecity@gmail.com

It’s really very simple!

Look forward to seeing your entry in my mailbox soon đŸ™‚

A sporty weekend [1]: Sports Day at Shikshantar

Just as I was getting a little cribby about Udai’s new penchant for hanging out gossiping with his friends rather than playing in the park, we spent a weekend full of outdoors fun! Winter in Delhi is perfect for sporty activities and we took full advantage of superb weather and great friends.

Saturday morning was spent attending Aadyaa’s sports day, quite a spectacle a Shikshantar where kids demonstrate complex obstacles, relays and patterns using props like balls and hoopla rings. The focus is complete immersion in the task at hand, with no regard to the idea of ‘winning a race’, quite unique to this school and absolutely age appropriate for pre-schoolers I think. I have to point out that the idea of sports for pre-schoolers is as much about the development of physical strength and skills as it is about honing social skills like sharing, encouraging peers and pushing yourself to do better. As parents, we all feel good that these little ones are protected at this point from the disappointments of losing and do whatever they can with great confidence. There will be a time and place for comparisons, but for now the happiness and enthusiasm is catching!

Here are a few snapshots from that energized morning, though I must confess I was sunburnt into a stupor afterwards!

Sports is internalized into every aspect of what the kids do at this time of the year!

Sports is internalized into every aspect of what the kids do at this time of the year!

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Good to see them focus on a task and chellenge themselves to do better. Notice the highly informal setup with parents and grandparents, siblings and even house help (who are so integral to the family from a child’s perspective) standing or sitting around the activity area

Teamwork was introduced this year. A significant step forward for the little ones!

Teamwork was introduced this year. A significant step forward for the little ones!

Cheering for her friends!

Cheering for her friends!

Big brother Udai watches. Later, parents and siblings also have similar activities. Wish I had pics of how much he enjoyed those, on the same team as mommy. Of course, our (more grown up) bunch was competitive as hell, yelling and behaving like the brats that I am sure we all were (or still are!)

Big brother Udai watches. Later, parents and siblings also have similar activities. Wish I had pics of how much he enjoyed those, on the same team as mommy. Of course, our (more grown up) bunch was competitive as hell, yelling and behaving like the brats that I am sure we all were (or still are!)

No need to sugarcoat! Reactions to progress reviews from my children’s school- Oct 8, 2012

Nothing is more gratifying to a parent than receiving positive feedback about her children. This week, we have received super progress reviews for both Udai and Aadyaa. Shikshantar progress reviews for pre-primary and primary school (and beyond) are descriptive and do not make the grave error of reducing the child’s assessment to a grade or mark. For each child, progress is reported under various heads like math skills, science, language, physical development,  large/fine motor skills, creative skills, personal and emotional development and such like.

I’ve always felt that the progress reviews are way too positive though. You have to really learn to read between the lines to truly understand where your child stands. I’ve brought it up with teachers before, but they insist that I am the doubting parent and my child is really as angelic as the script depicts! In Udai’s case I’m even willing to believe that, but Aadyaa, an angel? Naah! đŸ™‚

Another issue with descriptive reviews is that the quality heavily depends on the judgement powers as well as expressiveness of the reviewer. In Aadyaa’s review for instance, I can clearly see that her usual teacher has not written it. And true enough, when I asked her, Aadyaa told me that didi has been unwell and the other (less experienced) didi has written the reviews. In Udai’s case, the analysis is sharper, reflecting the alertness of his present duo of teachers.

But on the whole, I would rather get this qualitative, detailed feedback for my children rather than something that places them in relation to the rest of their class. For Udai, the review benchmarks the child’s skills against a class average of sorts, denoting whether the child meets, exceeds or falls short of expectations in each area. The level of detail (for language, for instance, spoke, written, comprehension, grammar, fluency, vocabulary are all separately assessed) helps us understand where more work might be needed.

Most importantly, the review helps to gauge progress from the previous semester. To me, that is the most critical aspect. For the self-aware, highly intelligent children of the 21st century, the toughest competition is with the self!

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