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Apeejay in Media

Coverage of Apeejay School’s Principal, Mrs. Veena Goel in Brainfeed Magazine



Holistic development and alumni engagement are pivotal aspects of a comprehensive educational approach. They go beyond academic excellence to nurture well-rounded individuals equipped with knowledge, essential life skills, and emotional intelligence. In this context, we present below an interview with Mrs. Veena Goel, Principal, Apeejay School, Pitampura, Delhi. Mrs. Goel emphasizes the significance of Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) and its integration into the school’s approach. She elaborates on how extracurricular activities promote SEL, the balance between academics and activities, collaboration with parents, and utilizing alumni engagement to enrich student experiences. Her focus underscores holistic development and active community involvement. Let’s dive in!

Q. Can you explain your understanding of Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) and how it fits into your School’s educational approach?

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process that involves fostering social and emotional skills in individuals. This process begins right when the child is in the mother’s womb and continues to be nurtured after birth by the child’s environment, in which the family and school play pivotal roles.

Schools today have evolved beyond being hubs solely for mastering the 3Rs (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). They are now instrumental in helping students become strong, happy, and positive individuals who seamlessly fit into the fabric of society in their later years. At school, from the cheerful circle time in the mornings to participating in assemblies, class activities, house activities, sports, etc., children learn collaboration, teamwork, and leadership. They develop resilience through interactions with new peers, teachers, and challenges each year. Success cultivates humility and respect, while setbacks lead to acceptance and the determination to improve.

My school emphasizes a harmonious blend of work and play, focusing on holistic development. We believe that SEL is as crucial as the standard curriculum of numeracy and literacy. Our staff is not only encouraged to instruct but also to create, integrate, communicate, and empower, fostering confidence and self-belief in children. The school provides dedicated counselling and special education support to help students facing challenges. Buddies are assigned to assist those who need to overcome inhibitions. Parents, teachers, and experts collaborate to ensure that no child is left behind.

SEL education creates an environment where students build and develop crucial life skills, preparing them for the future. Our school integrates life skill classes into the timetable to make students emotionally strong and better suited to society.

 Q. What role do extracurricular activities play in promoting socio-emotional learning among the students?

Participation in extracurricular activities in school plays a significant role in fostering the holistic development of students. It awakens various aspects of their personality:

  • Self-awareness: Engaging in extracurricular activities helps students understand their thoughts, emotions, strengths, and areas for improvement. It allows them to explore their identities and potential.
  • Social awareness: By interacting with peers in diverse activities, students develop a sense of social awareness. This understanding contributes to creating a healthy school culture, fostering inclusivity, and promoting empathy and respect among students.
  • Self-management: Through participation in extracurriculars, students learn to manage their time, emotions, and commitments effectively. This skill is crucial in maintaining a balance between academics, activities, and personal life.
  • Relationship skills: Extracurricular activities provide a platform for students to develop strong relationship-building skills. They learn effective communication, teamwork, cooperation, and leadership within group settings, contributing to a harmonious school environment.
  • Responsible decision-making: Students involved in extracurriculars often take on leadership roles or responsibilities. This experience nurtures their decision-making abilities, helping them make informed and ethical choices. They also learn to take ownership of their actions and outcomes.
  • Skill development: Beyond personal and social growth, participating in specific activities sharpens students’ expertise in those areas. Whether it’s sports, arts, or academic clubs, these activities hone their skills, boost confidence, and provide avenues for self-expression and achievement.

Overall, extracurricular participation not only enriches students’ educational experiences but also equips them with essential life skills, contributing to their overall growth and well-being.

Q. How does your School support students in finding a balance between academic excellence and participating in extracurricular activities?

Our school supports students in finding a balance between academic excellence and participating in extracurricular activities through a well-structured curriculum. This blend is integrated seamlessly into the school timetable, allowing students to engage in both realms effectively.

Beyond school activities, students also have opportunities to represent our school at inter-school, district, state, and national levels. Those who excel receive recognition during special events like the annual appreciation day, sports day, and special assemblies. Their achievements are highlighted through wide media coverage, motivating others to strike a balance between academics and extracurricular pursuits.

Q. Does your School collaborate with parents to reinforce the importance of both academics and socio-emotional skills in students’ growth?

Apart from Parent-Teacher Meetings (PTM) and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings, class-wise parent orientations with the principal and faculty are a regular feature of our school. Pre-primary parent orientations primarily focus on discussing the school’s ethos, culture, and various parenting nuances.

For higher classes, we address age-appropriate findings, concerns, and adolescent issues, and offer career counselling. These sessions are curated by the school leadership team, counsellor, and special educator, ensuring they are interactive and engaging.

We often invite our parents and external resource persons to address pertinent issues. We strongly believe that the partnership between school and home is crucial for the social-emotional well-being of our students. As the saying goes, “Alone we can do little, together we can do so much.”

Q. Do you feel balanced focus on academics, extracurricular activities, and socio-emotional learning is important in education? If so, how do you ensure that these aspects are integrated effectively in students’ overall development?

Integration of extracurricular activities and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) with academics is crucial for successful school development. This amalgamation fosters a strongly connected school community and leads to happier, more involved students, which in turn improves academic outcomes and contributes to the overall success of the school.

Our school offers a plethora of extracurricular activities that all students are encouraged to participate in. The emphasis on art integration and sports integration by CBSE aligns with our approach. Recently, skill-based clubs have been introduced in line with the NEP – 2020. These clubs cover a wide range of areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Financial Literacy, Design Thinking and Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Mass Media, Fashion Design, and Robotics, among others.

Class activities and House activities are integrated into our curriculum and seamlessly embedded in the class timetable. These extracurricular activities and life skill programs are led by our own teachers, which helps strengthen the teacher-student bond. This approach not only enhances learning but also boosts students’ confidence as they receive encouragement and support from their teachers.

Q. How does your School encourage and leverage alumni involvement to enhance the overall experience and opportunities for current students? Give examples.

We maintain a strong connection with our alumni, regularly sharing the school’s achievements with them and inviting them back to engage with our senior students, providing valuable career guidance. The diverse career paths pursued by our alumni enrich our career counselling programs. Given below, are some examples of school activities in which our alumni took part.

During our Investiture Ceremony, Mr. Varun Singhal, an alumnus, administered the oath to the newly elected ‘Apeejay Parliamentarians.’

Our alumna, Mr. Mudit Verma, a CSR Executive at Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., conducted a special session on “Bottles for Change,” highlighting the importance of plastic recycling.

Dr. Poornima Lala Mehta, an alumna and Director of CGC – Centre for Innovation Development and Learning, Delhi & NCR, brought an exciting offer of a three-week Summer School Programme in Denmark for students of Classes XI and XII during a workshop.

We actively engage with our alumni on social media, share e-newsletters, and encourage them to connect using our online directory. Offering mentoring opportunities fosters continued engagement. Time and again, we publish photo galleries from events and archives that are well-received by our alumni, evoking nostalgia and prompting some to reach out and offer their support for our new endeavours.