Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 1 at Aurinko - 20 kids, 8 teachers and loads of love!

Comments from children
" Love it"
" Awesome"
"Kind Teachers"
Comments from parents
" Big hit"
" Love the transparency"
" Most Professional Communication from a school ever"
"We have found what we were searching for our kid"
Comments from teachers
" Feel so satisfied a tthe end of the day!"
" Where is the disability?"
Dear Blog Readers, Thankyou all for the wishes, prayers! Keep them coming!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Questions to ask when considering a school!!

As more and more schools are understanding their responsibility towards children with learning differences we see many schools setting up resource rooms to help children. Parents now are having a choice of schools, who may be willing to admit and help their child with learning difficulties.

But how do we decide which school will really be able to help our child? Will the program make a difference to my child's overall development, will it "cure" him, will he ever be out of the resource room, when will he be ready to face mainstream are some of the questions that are troubling parents.

Here are a set of questions you may want to consider finding answers to before taking an admission. A year lost is a lot for a child... Remediation if done properly in earlier years has the best results!!

  1. How many dyslexic children are there in the school?

  2. Does the school undertake screening for specific learning difficulties and, if so, what was the result?

  3. How many teachers, specially trained to work with SpLD children, are on the staff ?

  4. Is there a plan for training available? How many hours of training do the teachers undergo every year?

  5. What further training is needed by the school and is this already organised? Who is the regular training provider for the school?

  6. How many teachers hold an SpLD diploma or experience in Teaching?

  7. What is the Teacher Student Ratio?

  8. How many teachers does 1 SEN teacher handle in the day? An ideal ratio would be 1: 4 for primary and 1:3 for middle and 1:2 for high school.

  9. What is the Schools plan for additional teachers required when new children are diagnosed through the year?

  10. How many hours does the SEN teacher devote individually to planning, teaching, observing in class, training and preparing materials?

  11. What is the Schools opinion about these children? Being an inclusive school vs Ability and long term plan for helping a child cope and recover

  12. What is the long term plan for the children? Do these children have to drop out in middle school to attend open schools?

  13. How does the school create awareness in parents who have neuro-typical children so they do not discriminate against our children?

  14. Upto what level is the Management/Principal aware/trained/involved in the SEN department and their day to day management?

  15. How do non-specialist teachers address the needs of dyslexic children in their classes, and what specific training have the non-specialist teachers had during the last year?

  16. What are the arrangements for catch-up in training for absent staff or teachers who join during the year?

  17. How is special teaching delivered, eg in class, withdrawal, individually or in small groups?

  18. Does the teaching take place in a specific resource room and, if so, are there any specific resources or equipment available and how does the school address the fact that the child has to leave other lessons to attend a different department or unit?

  19. Does the special teaching include work for skill remediation or does it only include adapted curriculum for cping up with mainstream?

  20. Do these specific intervention programmes focus on both literacy and numeracy and do they use structured multi-sensory teaching?

  21. Will After school Remediation classes be essential even though the child is getting help is School?

  22. What specific intervention programmes are carried out in school?
    (These may include store bought specific programmes such as Alpha to Omega, AcceleRead/ AcceleWrite, Hickey, etc, or software programmes such as WordShark/ NumberShark, Smart Phonics 1, 2, 3 and Clicker Phonics.) There are many resources available. Else Teachers may have created informal teaching and remediation material suitable to the children they are working with.

  23. What do internet reviews speak about the school, the administration, the success of the remedial programs, the future of the children etc.

  24. Who supervises the programmes (this is particularly important if the programmes are predominantly carried out by learning support assistants rather than specialist teachers)?

  25. What access to and training for ICT do dyslexic children have over and beyond the usual facilities available for all children?

  26. How rigid/flexible is the school in their policies with regard to accommodations/modifications suggested for a Dyslexic child?

  27. In addition to support in subjects such as English, is there further additional support available for other subjects?

  28. Ask to see how homework is given and supported (this will be particularly important if the child has difficulty in copying things down at speed from the whiteboard into a homework diary) and also ask to see a typical Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a dyslexic child at the school.

  29. Dyslexic children often have difficulties with self-esteem, confidence, organisational skills etc. How does the school address these aspects? Does the school feel that the resources, which are currently available, are adequate and if not, what else is required and where could these be obtained?

  30. Is inclusion seen as a priority area and if so, how will the dyslexic child be included in all areas of the curriculum?

  31. Who would a parent contact, in the first instance, to discuss any concerns?

  32. What adjustments are currently being made for dyslexic children in the school and how is the curriculum being differentiated? It is always helpful to ask for specific examples, perhaps by identifying children (not by name) who are currently in the school. If a child has slow or poor written skills, what time allowances are made by teachers during lessons, homework and in examinations?

  33. How does the school ensure that there are adequate opportunities for dyslexic children to work with other children with similar cognitive ability or with an appropriate level of cognitive challenge, despite their literacy or numeracy problems?

  34. What other evidence can the school provide to demonstrate that their inclusive practice is being effective and having a positive impact?

  35. How does the marking and assessment policy ensure that the child is assessed on the basis of their knowledge (rather than poor spelling)?

  36. How does the school measure its effectiveness with dyslexic children? Is there qualitative evidence, eg increase in self-esteem and also, quantitative evidence, eg reaching expectations through the different key stages?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Workshops for Teachers and Parents on Dyslexia/LEarning Difficulties

Date: May 23, 24, 25. May 2011 - 9 am to 5 pm Venue HSR Layout

Easy, Doable tips, tricks and tools to handle learning difficulties at home and at school.

Open to anyone passionate about children: School Teachers, Tuition teachers, B.Ed & Psychology students, Parents of children diagnosed with Dyslexia etc.

Cost Rs. 2250/-

Certificates of participation will be provided to all.
Discounts provided for schools if more than 10 participants are attending.
10 seats available Last date for registration - May 15 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Workshops for Adolescents July 2011

After Successful weekend programmes The Chetana Keni Institute brings a 10 day workshop for adolescents. We promise you will have brand new children by the end of it!

This is a program for children who study in International schools, or NRI's on a special request since their holidays are in this period
Dates : July 01 - 09 2011 Duration : Everyday, 2 hours
Age group is 13- 16 years only , Total seats 15

------The Program will cover -------

  • Rapport Building

  • Understanding self (I me myself and the world around me)

  • Interests - Understanding what we love to do

  • Mental aptitude

  • Shaping a dream and goal setting

  • Alignment of Academics/Skillsets to Dream Career Guidance

  • Handling Relationships, Self/ Peer/Parents/Teachers

  • Gaining Independence - Learning to be self sufficient and self reliant

  • Group Counseling

  • Matching expectations between home and outside

  • Handling Distraction Drugs, Drinks and Sexual Relationships

  • Balancing meagre pocket money and expensive dreams!

  • Study skills

  • Time managemnt

  • Memory management

  • Notemaking and Notetaking skills

  • Examinations - before during and after

  • And many more such things as and when the discussions lead to them

The costing will be Rs. Rs 5000 per child. Siblings will be Rs. 8500.

Mandatory Prerequisite : Parents must be deeply involved in the children's upbringing.

The children can be thereafter connected with me when ever they need any sort of guidance. Normally all my counseling relationships are life long. Its a commitment.
Please email to book your seats.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Opportunities for Employment and Volunteering

Looking for passionate women with good communication skills in English to be a part of Aurinko. Interesting Learning Opportunities and Part-time, Full time positions available.
We also need Psychology interns, B.Ed interns for other programs under The Chetana Keni Institute.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Schooling, when your child is diagnosed with Learning Difficulties

Come March, the year is ending and you have just finished the meeting with the Principal- something that you have been dreading since the last few months!

They send your child for an Educational Assessment. The Psychologist confirms he/she has a learning disability.

You have been referred for Remedial Classes. Your quest to find a cure is giving you sleepless nights.. the one question on your mind is "How long will it take?"

I meet several parents like this day in and day out.. Here's what I advise...

Firstly lets get it straight - Your child has a learning difference, he learns differently. The system doesn't suit him as it doesn't take his learning preferences/styles/needs/pace into consideration. The system says the child has a disability. From the child's perspective, the system has a disability.. a teaching disability.

Secondly When there is nothing "Wrong" with the child, there cannot be a Remedial for him.. that's the wrong approach. Now since the existing system has a disability , it needs a remedial. That's Mr Kapil Sibal's job and it will take time!

Thirdly, there is no time limit..These children cannot receive a handy plast in the form of Remedial and then left to face the mainstream education waiting for failures to happen. Instead they need a learning environment where each experience is exquisitely carved for them, each topic is taught in the way they learn, each day moves at their pace. In short a structured unstructured curriculum!

At this point usually parents ask me" But he is only 6 or 8 (whatever!)!. Can we continue in the mainstream for a couple of more years and then check? "

Well you can try! But its going to be like how you feel when you are wearing ill fitting shoes or clothes. You will wait endlessly to get out of them. Your focus will not be on enjoying the feel of these.. You will focus on how you can get out of it. You will just want to get done with the job that you have set out for and get home ASAP!

This is why so many children want to get out of schools, just finish it, learn for the sake of getting a degree/job or whatever (like getting a share of fathers property - if that's what you threatened him with!)

So now, Is this post to market Aurinko Academy? Well no! I don't believe in pulling people without them fully knowing what they are getting into. But yes, if the above post makes sense and you understand that your child is ready for an Aurinko Environment.. then surely we can help you.

So as I sign off to all these parents who come to me " Aurinko has the solutions for your child...We are willing to help, to wait. Because we are interested in helping your child and we will do so.. whenever he comes. Our doors are always open. However, you decide the number of bruises, the number of failures, that you want your child to go through while you decide to experiment!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is Aurinko a Special School?

Aurinko Academy has evolved as a solution to create thinking minds, something that mainstream is unable to promote! Instead of waiting for the current edcuation system to evolve and understand the futility of rote, competetion and running behind big bucks.. Aurinko Academy has evolved a curriculum that will provide children a safe place to experiement, explore and enjoy learning.

During this process wherein the children learn what they like in the pace which they are comfortable with, using their strong learning channels ..lables like Dyslexia and LD disappear!

So yes we are an inclusive school, we follow alternative learning methods, we will not jon the rat race, we are more interested in the journey of discovering life's learning... But we are not limited to special needs. Parents who understand what True Learning means and understand this philosophy are welcome to bring in their chidlren and be a part of the Aurinko Learning Family!

We cannot assure the future, Well no one can! But yes Aurinkoites will definitely be ready for anything that comes their way in the future!!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Aurinko Academy Edcuational Framework

The Aurinko Program is derived from the AITA™ Approach that focuses on the Whole-Child. The approach identifies the strong bond between all developmental domains and recognizes that everyone is a part of the curriculum development process.
The Program ensures each child’s development across and within the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical domains in unique and individualized ways. Identification of the child’s levels at the entry point allows us to meet their needs and scaffold their learning in ways that will support their educational journey and life goals.

Our Curriculum is integrated, emergent and learner-centered. The content areas are integrated and interdependent. The Learner Profile which forms the core of our Curriculum Framework consists of the child’s background, developmental needs, abilities, interests, intelligences and learning styles is an important decision factor while we try to meet grade-level benchmarks. A structured lesson plan is executed in an unstructured manner to enable the children learn and express in ways that are conducive to their Profiles. Learning is integrated across all content and is deepened with the integration of specialist teachers.

Our child-centered curriculum ensures that the curriculum fits around the child’ needs to allow a flexible and enjoyable learning experience

The Aurinko teacher is a facilitator of learning, rather than a director. They have one goal in mind, to plant a wish in the child’s mind – to learn, to love himself and adapt to the community. The children socially co-construct knowledge with each other and adults and child development is an integral part of this social context. The children are active participants in their own learning and the curriculum emerges from the interests, past knowledge, and experiences of the children and teachers. Learning becomes an active process and focus is upon the learner rather than on the subject or lesson to be taught.

Aurinko Academy has a unique concept that encourages, supports, values, and promotes joy of learning, creativity, perseverance, playfulness, true integration, and community learning. We are interested in the journey of learning, in children being free, fearless while exploring and connecting with the subject matter that motivates and interests them and utilizes their unique capacities.

At Aurinko, we donot provide mainstream edcation with adaptations. We provide an education that will spur the mainstream to adapt! This makes us stand apart... as perhaps the only school in the world! Dyslexics pull up your collars... This is an elite club for you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nagpur Workshop!!!!! Feedback!!!

"I was there as part of the organisers Rotary Club of Nagpur East, for the 3 day workshop conducted by Chetana Keni. The feedback we got from the school teachers, special educators, psychologists and parents of Dyslexic children was that the workshop was very informative and very well conducted by Chetana who is an expert in the field of Dyslexia. Wishing her good luck in the new school she is opening. -- Arun Malani"

Thankyou Mr Malani!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Aurinko needs your contributions to Education!


We are setting up a low cost sensory integration unit for our School, Aurinko Academy in Bangalore. Require Donations in the form of USED/NEW toys, activity boards, walkers, swings, ladders, touch and feel books etc meant for children in the age group of 0-6 yrs.. We need stuff which stimulates all the five senses... Please circula...te this message if you donot have toys!!

Some things that we need are

small bean bags
1 large bean bag
rocking chairs/horse
chennaptana toys
any toy that goes around etc a cradle mobile, merry go round, giant wheel,
touch and feel textures
educational laptops
toys that make sound, or can be squeezed
toys or board games or puzzles that improve language and literacy
puzzles - 4/6/8/12 upto 50 piece
garden equipment
sand equipment
small moving toys
toys that use hand pressure
kitchen, doctor and other sets
doll houses
dolls and variuos figurines
drums, flutes, xylophones, and other musical instruments
montessori toys
wooden toys

Please make sure the toys are in usable condition and clean. Pelase email at aurinkoacademy at gmail dot com
for further discussions. Thanks for stopping by!

Aurinko Academy Pilot