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‘Teachers at Apeejay Pitampura help children become independent right from the beginning’

Dr Tarun Suri, father of Anaisha, a nursery student at Apeejay School, Pitampura, says that the school teachers are a huge support to working parents

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From promoting value-based development to extra-curricular activities, there is a lot beyond academics that Apeejay School, Pitampura, focuses on, says Dr Tarun Suri, Associate Professor and Consultant Spine and Orthopedic Surgeon, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. In an interview, Dr Suri and his wife Dr Alisha Jagga, Consultant Radiologist at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, share the progress they are seeing in their daughter Anaisha, a nursery student at Apeejay Pitampura, and their overall experience with the school. Edited excerpts:

How did you choose Apeejay School, Pitampura, for your daughter?

Tarun: We prepared a list of prospective schools for Anaisha and among them, Apeejay School, Pitampura was our top choice. The school has a very good reputation, with excellent academic and co-curricular exposure while inculcating good values in children. Anaisha’s two elder cousins have also been studying at Apeejay school. Seeing their growth and love for their school and teachers, we were extremely keen that our daughter studies at the same institution.

Before Anaisha joined the school, we had an informal interaction with the school principal, vice-principal, and other members of the staff who gave us immense confidence that our child is going to be in caring hands.

Tell us about the interview process. Were there any challenges amid the pandemic?

Tarun: The admission process was mostly online; we did not face any specific challenges. Besides, the school made excellent provisions for interaction with parents in a very staggered manner to maintain social distancing. The sanitation protocols in the school were excellent—when we visited the school premises, they looked very clean and hygienic. The school had done its best to ensure parents’ confidence.

You mention how the school promotes value-based education. How do teachers inculcate the same in students?

Tarun: Academics is just one part of the classes that happen daily. A lot of focus is laid on the personal development and growth of the child as well. Almost every week, the students have some form of value inculcation like building good relations with social workers, encouraging and appreciating the work of the helpers, sharing and caring, respecting elders, following a daily routine, and so on. It is not just possible for parents alone to inculcate these values in kids.

Do the teachers show enough support to working parents?

Tarun: Alisha and I have divided our schedule in a way that we are able to spend time with Anaisha. The teachers, on the other hand, are also quite flexible. We ask them for constant feedback on our child’s work, for which they accept submissions during the evening too or sometimes, even later than that. The teachers acknowledge that the situation is not normal and as working parents, we might be a little delayed sometimes in completing the assignments.

There are also students whose grandparents or caretaker attends the class with them. We have seen the teacher take extra effort to monitor and ensure these children are able to make the most of what is being taught.

Alisha: The assignments are usually shared with the parents in advance, during the weekend so that we have enough time to make the preparations.

Apeejay focuses on activity-based, experiential learning. How has it helped your daughter?

Tarun: Like every other parent, we were also apprehensive at the beginning about how our child will learn in the virtual mode. But the efforts put in by the teachers like Vishakha Ma’am and Sulekha Ma’am are praise-worthy; they have made learning so easy for the children. New concepts are being taught through various activities and games which have made learning interactive and fun for kids. Anaisha has already started reading three-letter words independently. She has also become very confident, improved pronunciation, presentation skills, colouring, and so on.

Young children tend to depend on their parents for everything. Is the school making efforts to teach them to do things independently?

The teachers are continuously promoting discipline in the children. To help parents, teachers encourage the children to rearrange the study material at the end of the class. Even during the class, the teacher gives time to each child to take out their pencil or crayons and then put it back in the box at the end of the activity. Now, my daughter can write and colour independently as well.

Is Anaisha encouraged by the teachers to participate in extra-curricular activities?

That is an inherent part of the curriculum. Almost every major festival and event is celebrated in the class and introduced to the children. The students participate whole-heartedly in the form of presentations, learning rhymes, performances, etc. They get to learn about the history and significance of each of these festivals. Teachers equally encourage students to participate in inter-school competitions. As Anaisha prepared for one such event, her teachers dedicated extra hours beyond the class to train her. There were times when she would be tired, but the teacher would give her a break and wait for her. We were amazed to see the amount of hard work and investment on the part of the teachers to train children. 

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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