Our Preschool-Preprimary children’s families are invited to their classes for a special Cook For Me Festival. During this month long festival, each morning a child’s family visits their class on an assigned day for preparing a special dish along with the children. Before this happens, the family begins preparations at home, talking with their child about which dish they would like to prepare for their friends in class, planning and deciding the roles they will play in the entire process, what material and ingredients they will need and distribution of responsibilities takes place. It is also an opportunity to discuss important issues related to care and hygiene. Apart from being fun, it is a learning experience for all of us; working together to prepare a dish fades away stereotypical roles and encourages a healthy harmonious environment where work becomes significant and not about who does it or their gender. Children see cooking as an important social activity and develop an idea about how different family members participate in a social activity contributing towards a common purpose, which, in this case happens to be preparing a scrumptious, finger licking dish! This experience of preparing a dish provides a natural way for children to learn new vocabulary; as they talk together about the ingredients they are using, cooking processes and the changes observed; they are being introduced to new words and their meanings. Being involved in food preparation, talking about and handling food also becomes be a wonderful sensorial experience. Cultivating their sense of touch, smell and taste also transfers the sense and warmth to the emotional plane wherein they begin naming experiences thusly.
Moreover, children feel a real sense of impulse control and serving when they have the opportunity to serve food they have helped prepare, to family and friends. Young children love to declare what they can do and preparing a dish provides opportunities to gain a sense of accomplishment. It lets them know that their help is important, and significant, and fun!
The Reading Festival in the Junior School is time to roar like the lions, and snort like the pigs and bears! It is time to play pranks like Horrid Henry, and be mischievous like Arthur. It is time to appreciate the clever jackal, and nibble around with the naughty mouse! It is time to admire the intelligence of Birbal, and feel the magic of what a story can create for all of us!! Well, it is the time when children plan and invite their parents to visit their classes during the Circle Time to read aloud or tell them interesting and some really mesmerizing stories…stories which delight us, stories which enchant us! Stories which touch our hearts, inspire, motivate, and challenge us. With the intention of celebrating the bliss, the culture of reading and togetherness that reading books brings to our lives, every morning during our half-hour slot of Circle Time, two of our children’s families visit their classroom to share any story that they have together decided worth sharing with all the children of their class.
Children are taught technical theatre design and production. The Heritage School, Gurgaon’s annual calendar of events includes at least four theatre performances by students in the Middle Programme. In Junior Programme too, students get opportunities such as in assemblies and vertical meets to perform in various plays.
Since cultural diversity/ diffusion is the beauty of our society and each family has a rich and unique resource-base of life, each morning the presence of different families brings with itself a newness and pleasantness in the classroom environment..! It is beautiful how different families bring with themselves a world of stories, folk tales, their family tales and their own beings into the classrooms of their children. They bring to their child’s classroom the language of their family, the language of their way of telling stories, and the language of imagination! All of us have grown up listening to stories, poems and songs, and sharing them with the people around us. Reading books is that pleasurable activity that opens the treasure of being transported to another (new) world, altogether. It (Reading) is that good time of our lives which engages us in interacting with the moods, feelings, lives, belief systems and cultures of peoples across the world, and across time zones. It is an activity with the potential to shape our thought(s) and develop broad-minded, multicultural global citizens in us. Loving reading is like having a friend for life. And our children celebrate this treasure along with their parents, friends and teachers!
Stories give children dreams and offer the possibility of entering the world of imagination. What children make visible in the world of stories, it becomes possible in life as well. All beautiful thoughts manifest into actions. The whole aura created during the Reading Festival and the Animal Festival by families infuses a new energy amongst our children. Thus, our much awaited annual Theatre Festival preparations gain momentum with the junior school children. Children engage in intensive story discussions, story selection as a class, and planning their presentations that take place for their parent audience later during the week long Theatre Festival.
As story tellers, they take delight in wanting to tell their stories to their parent audience. Children try to understand their characters in totality; so it is not enough for a child to know that s/he is a ‘lion’ in the story. They also display the urge to know how this lion was feeling in a particular situation in a story. We see them discussing who suits a given role best and accepting each others’ points of view, analyzing different situations/ characters, portraying ‘somebody else’ on the stage and being creative with their gestures and body movement. It is a festival that celebrates the entire process, the ability to take perspectives and delve deeper into the lives of people across cultures and eras, and not just the display of their performances. Language acquisition happens best when the focus is not on learning the language discreetly, and the purpose and context of this presentation facilitates spontaneous language acquisition. Preparing for the presentations provides children with meaningful purposes to talk to each other about their stories, the dialogues, their characters, creating settings, props and everything else that organizing our Theatre Festival entails. In the process they also develop impulse control, empathy, listening skills, collaboration, interdependence, and a sense of fair play. This journey, therefore, becomes as important as the destination…the final presentation to be.
The word ‘Science’ would conventionally bring to our minds different pictures: a thick textbook loaded with information and facts, white lab coats and microscopes, an astronomer peering through a telescope, a naturalist in the rainforest, Einstein’s equations scribbled on a chalkboard, the launch of the space shuttle, bubbling beakers…All these images reflect some aspect of Science, but none of them may provide a full picture of the Environment Around Us. EVS is a process of discovery that allows us to link isolated facts into coherent and comprehensive understanding of the natural world. It is indeed a journey of refining and expanding our ideas of the world in which we live, and the process generates questions that lead to further investigation. Our children engage in Inquiry-based Learning through the Junior School years. The interactive EVS Exhibition in Classes IV-V as children get ready to graduate to the Middle School is an opportunity for and an endeavour for these students to make their learning visible, not only to their parents but also to themselves. Children in each section of Classes IV and V discuss and decide on any one topic of inquiry that they have studied through the year and develop ways and means to exhibit the learning outcomes to the parents in their own creative, interactive ways making visible the evidences of learning.
In the process of month-long preparation that precedes the EVS Exhibition, children talk about what they did and how they learnt it, thus further reflecting upon their levels of understanding and develop comprehensive ways of making their learning deeply understood and visible. From group work to individual work, children learn to plan, organise, distribute and shoulder various responsibilities, coordinate with each other, considering various perspectives, task initiation, reflection and skills of presentation apart from leadership skills. It also makes possible for the parents to discuss the various topics freely with the children on the day of the exhibition and children take delight in explaining the various topics to them. Parents see these worlds of inquiry through the children’s eyes and learn along with them.
The Rhythm Divine Evenings are a celebration of the symphony of life through melody, beats, and harmony. In its endeavour to bring out the true essence and richness of the learning of Arts, to realise one’s inner potential, and to dip our souls into the colours of beats, music and mesmerizing expressions, The Heritage School organizes two serene, clement evenings, the annual feature of school, RHYTHM DIVINE. These annual musical evenings are thematically for Indian Music, Western Music or Dance evenings, exploring particular genres through the course of years. A celestial celebration such as this is a result of enormous hard work of children where their classroom learning takes final shape as stage presentations for a mass audience of parents and students. Coordinated by children and teachers together, there is conscious effort to create an aura as per the decided theme and genre in terms of costumes, lights and adornment. This platform is an opportunity for upcoming artist to explore their potential and to polish their skills. It encourages each child to celebrate the joy of learning and develop discipline of being. With participation of over 400 students from the fine arts stream across the middle and the senior school, the multi-age grouping of children provides the school with many a moment of joy and pride as children learn from each other with reverence.
Having gathered the blossoms of storytelling in the Junior Classes, children of Classes VII and VIII experience the marvels of an intense large-scale production. These classes study and present classics such as Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hamlet in Class VII; and those such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and Haroon and the Sea of Stories by Sulman Rushdie in Class VIII. Mentored by a theatre professional, children are also facilitated in understanding techniques of stage-craft. Apart from developing unique and creatively critical perspectives in their presentations, children are exposed to techniques such as material theatre, physical theatre, cartooning and paper theatre. Children are also actively engaged in the behind-the-scenes-process of coordinating the event, which includes creating invites, posters, costumes, light and sounds, management, and compeering.
The unfurling of dreams, the expression of the subconscious, Trisha is the realisation of the desire to be… An exhibition of children’s expressions of art, Trisha is an event that showcases their talent to the parent and peer audience. Works of children from Preschool through Grade XII are displayed as the eye is greeted by harmonious objects, having elegance of form and colour. From exploring functional craft and origami to the ‘isms’ of Western Art, free expression marvels to those displaying magnificence with use of acrylic colours and oil paints, the complexity of technique, skill and medium develops with successive grade levels. Art being soulfully integrated with other subjects such as history and math, Trisha also explores thematic displays of different civilizations such as Egyptian, or Greek, etc during the course of different years wherein children of each grade have worked on recreating the marvels of that era with their interpretation and use of age-appropriate skill, technique and medium.
Art works of various streams such as :
• Functional/Decorative Craft
• Recycling Craft
• Clay Modeling/Terracotta
• POP Sculpture
• POP Carving
• Binding Wire work
• Painting and Sketching
• Study Work
• Applied Work
• Paper sculpture and Origami
• Heritage Art and Craft/Folk Art
…are displayed to celebrate the aesthetics of life.
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