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Teaching is the most important work on the planet, says Global Education Influencer Gavin McCormack at the Annual Day of Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld

Speaking about crucial teaching pedagogies put in place across the world, he highlighted how freedom within limitations and mixed-aged classrooms encourages life-long learners

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Young minds have the potential to look at global problems differently, think, create, imagine and resolve them with greater empathy and sensitivity. If given the freedom and opportunity, they will shine and break conventional barriers of learning. ‘Ice Age Adventures’- the 8th Annual Appreciation Day of Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld School, Greater Kailash – II marked the dawn of a new era – celebrating the efforts of tiny tots in the pandemic and encouraging them to count their blessings, never give up and keep moving forward.

The session was graced by Mr. Gavin McCormack, Principal, Farmhouse Montessori School in Sydney, Australia who is also a renowned author and teacher. He has set up several schools across the globe as he continues to be passionate about teaching pedagogies spanning over 20 years of experience in teaching-learning in several countries. The Guest of Honour at the event was Ms. Vandana Kohli, an award-winning filmmaker, musician, teacher, photographer and columnist. She is an expert in the field of human mind, behaviour and efficiency. Dr. V.S. Garg, Education Advisor at Apeejay Education was present at the event along with eminent members of the Apeejay management.

The session began with a virtual lamp lighting by Mrs. Sushma Paul Berlia, Co-Promoter & President, Apeejay Stya & Svran and Group Chairman, Apeejay Education Society, Ms. Komal Nathani, Headmistress, Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld, Mr. Gavin and Ms. Vandana. Shortly, students welcomed the guests with a power-packed performance to celebrate the spirit to tackle and overcome challenges in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing the gathering, Ms. Nathani said, “Today is a big day to think how far we have come and how far we have to go. Let’s rejoice at this majestic journey and commemorate the 8 years of Rhythms Kinderworld.” She then shared the vision of the school – to lay the foundation for leaders of tomorrow. Speaking about the unique methods of teaching-learning at the school, she said, “Rhythms seeks to encourage exploration amongst young learners. We are a leading pre-school with the best of faculty and avant-garde infrastructure. We strive to inculcate in our students honest conduct and behaviour in which they learn by doing, thinking and exploring. Our pedagogy is practical, realistic, interactive and sensory-based to drive curiosity balanced with inculcating rich values. We seek to nurture our children socially, emotionally and intellectually as well as seek active partnership from parents to make them life-long learners.”She fondly remembered Dr. Stya Paul, Founder-Chancellor of Apeejay Education whose dream to provide children quality education and holistic learning is now carried forward by his only daughter, Madam Sushma Paul Berlia.

Dr. Garg welcomed the guests at the event mentioning how Apeejay seeks to make every child feel special and appreciated in their own right. He said, “Every child has a different ability and potential and we try to identify and nurture their qualities.” He cited the latest book by Ms. Vandana Kohli, HINGE: (Re) Discovering Emotional and Mental Wellness that discusses the mental, emotional journey of children. He stated, “Apeejay Education strives to provide several opportunities to students apart from academics to grow, keeping their overall development in mind. Dr. Stya Paul, an eminent educationist, industrialist, philanthropist and freedom fighter six decades ago established Apeejay and today we have sixteen K12 schools as well as higher educational institutions supporting 40 thousand students. Rhythms Kinderworld is a child-friendly and boutique concept pre-school that strives to promote joyful learning at all levels to allow children to reach their developmental milestone. I want to congratulate the team at the school and the parent community whose immense support and cooperation has led us to this success today.”

Mr. Gavin took the stage to address the audience by highlighting the crucial role of educators across the globe. He said, “Being a teacher is the most important work happening on this planet right now. It is crucial to build our future.” He then shared his screen to display a PowerPoint presentation on: ‘It Takes a Child to Raise a Village’ where he shared that the biggest organ for the cognitive development of a child’s brain is: The Hands. The second being, Mouth – for speech and effective communication. He drew a parallel with the year 1937 when Polio spread across the world with the Covid-19 pandemic. He cited how at that time and even today radio became a key connector to make students learn and during the pandemic the same practice was repeated in many parts of the world. He impressed upon everyone how sounds, voice and impact of stories became crucial to make children learn in this difficult time.

He shared an interesting example about collaborative partnership with his students at his school in Australia. “4 girls walked to my office one day saying that they wanted to help the Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar who were coming to Australia to start their school. They started with buying 140 backpacks online and to gather the funds they held a bake sale. Persistent and determined to extend their support, they then reached out to the parents’ community of the school to fill these backpacks. In a matter of few weeks, they collated 140 backpacks filled to its capacity with essentials that a student would need on their first day of school. After doing so, they invited CEOs of two organisations to the school to help them send these bags to the Rohingya Muslim community. Ultimately, they shortlisted one, i.e. ‘House of Sakinah’ – a women’s shelter organisation to send these backpacks. The final impact was yet to happen – as the NGO recorded their reactions on how the Rohingya people opened the backpacks and were delighted to find lunchboxes, folders, toys, umbrellas, pencils.” Through this, Mr. Gavin discussed the virtue of collaborative partnership with young minds and allowing them freedom to think and act within limitations to create wonders.

After this, students of Apeejay Rhythms showcased scintillating performances based on the climate action inspired – ‘Ice-Age Adventures.’

Extending her gratitude to Apeejay for inviting her as the Guest of Honour, Ms. Vandana addressed the gathering, “Children from the age of 1 to 5 are like sponges – they soak in so much are very sensitive to everything that is happening around them. I am happy to note the immense number of celebrations, festivals that take place at Rhythms because it gets students to learn and know about new things. With the advent of technology, we need to focus on the importance of using our hands and body and these two years of Covid-19 have led us to sit in front of our screens. My advice for parents is to lead by example and attempt to stay away from unmindful engagement of technology to live in the moment and spend time with their children.”

The event concluded with Ms. Rabia Azim, facilitator at Rhythms delivering a Vote of Thanks to the members of the Apeejay management, entire Rhythms Kinderworld team, guests, parents and students. After her speech, audience gathered to pay tribute to the nation through a soulful rendition of the anthem by Ms. Vandana. 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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