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Curriculum - An Overview
The Integrated Curriculum
Technology and Curriculum
The Arts at Vasant Valley School
Additional Examination Choices
Special Needs of Classes X, XI & XII
Adventure Camps ...
and many Other Activities
The success of our school's system lies in careful planning of each lesson in the school year and in the evaluation of student performance.
The curriculum gives a balanced importance to academics, computers, physical education and performing and visual arts, and also integrates them with each other in a planned manner. Thus the students learn a subject through different techniques :geographical landforms through art on the computer and clay models or cycles of the moon through a dramatic enactment.
The junior school has its own set of workbooks to supplement the learning process. There is no textbook teaching. Each lesson is planned in advance and evaluated later, so within a very flexible framework there is a structured and graded progress.
In the senior school, the curriculum emphasises the teaching of a subject that is not merely the course work for each subject as is laid down by the C.B.S.E. So the students learn much beyond what is required for the board examination. Classes 6 to 8 follow a syllabus that has been set by the teachers. From class 9 onwards the student gets into gear for the C.B.S.E. and a system of monthly tests, an additional examination and classes on handling of examinations become an additional part of the curriculum.
The non-academic subjects in both senior and junior school are also taught according to a pre-set syllabus. The student's individual interests are further developed in hobby programmes, which offer choices as divergent as carpentry and magic. The daily private study hour helps the children develop self-study skills ,very little homework is given in our school.
As the school is based on the Multiple Intelligence Theory, a typical day at Vasant Valley is a mix of academic and non-academic classes, sports, and also music, dance, art, hobbies, library, or computers.
In the junior school, though there is a balanced mix of academic and non-academic subjects, children do spend more time than senior school students on subjects such as visual arts, performing arts and sports. In the "playroom" children from nursery to class 2 spend time simulating real life situations - running a home, going shopping, pursuing professions - or merely playing. Time spent here is planned towards just having fun. The ratio of academic subjects to non-academic increases gradually, but even for the classes that are going in for the board exams in the senior school, there are many breaks from academic classroom learning every day.
Not only is there a balanced integration of Academics, Arts and Physical Education, there is also interdisciplinary integration. Children in the Junior School may make clay models or paintings of volcanoes when they are studying them in their science class. In the Senior School too, computers are used as a means for integrating various disciplines, such as art, science and social sciences.
The school constantly remains at the cutting edge of technology both in terms of the latest pedagogical methods and also in the use of computers and information technology for teaching. Several programmes in school integrate latest developments and technology into the curriculum
In keeping with the schools philosophy and its belief in the multiple intelligence theory, the learning areas apart from the five broad based academic areas are given a lot of weightage. A student leaving Vasant Valley is expected to have a catholicity of vision and a spectrum of interest that will mark him or her out as a singular human being. Therefore the performing and theatre arts (drama, dance and Indian and western music) and the visual arts (painting, sketching, design, sculpture) are an important part of the curriculum. The Arts Programme is designed to enable students to get equal opportunities to participate in quality programmes.
Class Activity Period and ExhibitionsAre the forums for displaying what has been learnt in these subjects. On Fridays, there is period is for Class Activities, this is when the children display to the rest of the school what they have learnt in the performing arts classes. These performances are sometimes held separately for the junior school on the junior school stage and the senior school in their quadrangle and sometimes the entire school together on the central stage. Every week a different set of children from a different section performs on the stage, and by the end of the year nearly every child would have shown his or her special talent to the school. Thus all students get opportunities to perform in front of an audience.
Just as Class Activity is the weekly forum for displaying what was learnt in the performing arts, for the visual arts, the forum is the exhibition room and the display areas at the entrances to the two buildings. These exhibits of the children's work keeps changing every week, and there are regular exhibitions of class-wise art work.
Grades in non-academic subjects are a part of the promotion criteria. These recognise strengths and learning styles of children.
In keeping with the philosophy of the school, Physical Education is an integral part of every Vasant Valley day. The Physical Education program is structured to develop skills, stamina and sportsmanship and fit the needs of particular age groups.
From nursery to class 2, the stress is on the building up of individual skills vis-à-vis a heightened physical stamina and better motor activities. The children of this age group participate in gymnastics, bar exercises, rope climbing and other muscle strengthening exercises. Class 3 onwards, the children are inculcated in the more formal team sports like soccer, basketball and cricket. In classes 6 - 12 the children play a number of sports. Vasant Valley School exposes the students to a host of sports but students specialise and compete in only a select few. Competing only in selected sports helps children to concentrate and excel in their specialized sport.
The games played in the school are soccer, cricket, basket ball, hockey, badminton, tennis, table tennis, volley ball, softball, students are also being trained in golf, polo, and bowling and in individual team, track and field events. The inter-house competitions for each of the team sports are major events in the school, as are the standard tests conducted twice a year. All these lead up to the Athletic Meet which is held at the end of the year - the whole school participates in this event, and this is when inter house rivalry reaches its peak!
Over and above the school PE programme, sports camps are organised in the evening. These are open to all interested students. Strict attention is required and often school teams are chosen from these camps. Camps are also held during vacations.
The school has tie ups with professional sports organisations to run Sports Clinics. These professional organisations give higher quality training and improved inputs. They also lead to more competitions outside school and thus greater exposure and interaction with outside schools.
Most of the finals of Inter-House sports competitions are organised on Saturday to enable parents to participate and encourage the children.
Fridays are Hobby days for all children from the 3rd to the 10th standard. The children spend an hour developing their individual interests. In every nook and corner of the school, children from class three onwards are busy with cookery, carpentry, needlework, gardening, aerobics, computers, aerodynamics, the newsletter, bodybuilding, pottery etc. The staff members supervise each hobby - so they too get a chance to indulge in their hobbies in school!
Junior school children get no homework except during the weekends - so that there is no break in the link of what they have learnt in school. In the senior school too very little homework is given - in Mathematics daily and in other subjects according to a prescribed weekly schedule. During weekends they write an essay in English and Hindi and one essay a month is graded only on the ideas expressed in the essay.
Vasant Valley students are trained for self-study. So one hour is set aside each day, except on Wednesdays for Private Study. The subject teachers set work and the children are expected to study on their own. The teachers are available for consultation and help if it is required. Private study is an integral part of the teaching-learning programme of the school and cannot be missed.
During Private Study students reinforce:
This is based on performance and participation in school academic and non-academic programmes through the year
The twice year examinations and tests are only a small part of the evaluation process. Informal evaluation takes place constantly in terms of correction and follow-up work. Assignments are not only marked, but a comment is also added to make the exercises more meaningful.
A more formal valuation takes place at the end of each month when the students are graded on their performance in all subjects, academic and non-academic all through the month. Each subject area is further subdivided into categories relevant to that subject to make the process more accurate. They are also evaluated on the basis of monthly tests and their performance in assignments. This ensures constant revision for the student and enables her to be more thorough.
Continuous Evaluation Includes- Class assignments
- Home assignments
- Monthly tests
- Academic monthly grades
- Non-academic monthly grades
Promotion criteria for all classes are based on continuous evaluation of all subjects including Arts and Physical Education. A student must attain a minimum of 55% in the assessment program for promotion to the next class, especially from Class V to VI and Class VIII to IX. The promotion criteria is also used to determine subject choices given by Vasant Valley School to students in Class XI
Vasant valley School reports give detailed and diagnostic feedback to students and parents. Every month parents get a report on their child's performance based on a weighted combination of performance in monthly grades, monthly tests and assignments. They also see a graph that plots changes in the child's performance since the beginning of the year.
Students also get Consolidated Reports several times in a year:
May:This is a report based on student performance from January onwards and includes the results of all monthly tests and the May Examination
Vasant Valley School offers students flexibility of choosing from a variety of school leaving certifications. Evaluations by different boards cater to different needs of students. Students continuing to study in India need to write the CBSE, Students with different potential can choose the board that caters to their abilities. Special children get a Vasant Valley School Certificate.
Vasant Valley School gives special emphasis to examination preparation for the Classes X and XII. Board examinations are the basis for selection to many courses after school and thorough knowledge of a subject does not imply ability to write an examination. Writing an examination successfully requires special academic and emotional preparation
Therefore Private Study for these classes are examination oriented during which time question papers are solved, discussed and evaluated. Individualised re-teaching also takes place during this time. Subject teachers are available on specified days for additional help.Other steps taken towards examination preparation are:
Exhaustive question banks for each topic prepared by teachers
Training in examination skills
Guidance to each student to plan her schedule for study and revision
Regular follow up of the above
Time bound class assignments
Practice in writing question specific answers
Students of Class XI and XII do not have Hobby classes. Instead this time is set aside for programmes that will prepare students for the outside world by building their awareness about adult issues. These programmes give them tools that will enable them to handle these issues.
Some of these programmes are:
Examples of these are career talks, discussions on social issues, rights and duties as citizens, interview and group discussion skills.
Experts from various fields expose senior students to a variety of careers. Counselling for Class X students facilitates better subject choices for Class XI. It helps students to increase their awareness of available careers and to make informed career choices and also to plan for careers that interest them.
The school has a very active programme that enables students to reach out and contribute to the society that has given them so much.
Some of the programmes are:
The week begins with an Environmental Awareness Class for all students. Waste paper from the school is recycled within the school by the students and is used once again. There are also programmes for rainwater harvesting and planting and maintaining saplings.
We also have a programme for AIDS awareness. This is part of an interactive health and environmental awareness programme for Class 11.
The children participate in programmes where they help out in schools that care for special children. They also attend programmes where they learn craft skills from physically challenged children.
Less privileged childrenStudents from the senior classes help to teach primary children in a neighbouring MCD school.
In February all the students from Class 3 to 12 go for "Adventure Camps". They spend four days in the wilderness in tents far from city conveniences. These trips help at two levels. They teach the children basic survival skills amidst a lot of fun and they also lead to a greater degree of bonding between the children and the staff. During the camp there are planned activities like rafting, trekking, bird watching and mountain climbing. In the evening there are competitions, entertainment programs by the students.
Apart from this general routine, there is always something happening at Vasant Valley School. Competitions, quizzes, seminars, festival celebrations, talks by eminent personalities - and of course, examinations - are all planned at the beginning of the year as part of the curriculum and judiciously timed so as to reinforce the concepts that are currently being learnt in class.
Children are frequently taken out within and outside the city to places that will help them relate what they are learning in the classroom to the real world.There are also many major annual events to add to look forward to - the Founders' Day celebrations, the Drama Festival, the Interschool debate and multimedia competitions, the Inter house competitions and matches, the Athletic Meet.