Auroville Foundation - Isai Ambalam School (Support A Child)

Project Brief: Asha is setting up SAC (Support a Child program) for Isai Ambalam School to provide for running expenses of the school. Phase 1: 70 children. The rest will be provided with support from the current donations.
Project Type: Formal Schools (description)
Primary Focus: to go to formal school (description)

Secondary Focus: creating resources

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Bangalore
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Atrei Ghosh
Project Partner(s): Sanjeev Ranganathan
Other Contacts: Balaji S
Project Address: , Isai Ambalam School,Auroville, Alankuppam Village,,Puducherry,
TAMIL NADU  605101
Tel: 91-8940262969
Stewarding Chapter: Bangalore
Nov 2018BangaloreUSD 3052

Total = $3052

The Isai Ambalam School is an outreach school of Auroville for the villages in the west and north-west of Auroville providing holistic education over the years. It started as a drop out school and not caters to children from Creche (3 yrs age) to 8th grade.

In the last year many programs were added including music - vocal, dance, tabla, drums, swimming, judo. In addition with Education by Design projects. Last year the school received a one-time grant (from Bajaj through SAIIER) that enabled us to pursue all-round development of the school and this year would like to continue these activities and projects.

These activities have led to tangible improvement in the children, which has been perceived or recognized by the community and the strength of the school has increased from 89 to 130 this schooling year. We need to at least raise what we were able to last year through SAC and raise the rest through individual donations, etc.
To create and environment that supports the fullest potential of every child and teacher.
Isai Ambalam School is located in Auroville, Pondicherry. We are an Auroville outreach school and work with children in the villages around Auroville including Kottakarai, Alankuppaam, Pattai, Edayanchavadi, Poothurai, Pattannur. We currently work with around 135 children from 3 years of age to about 14 years of age, i.e., Kindergarten through Grade 8. We aspire to be a school based on the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother to support children and teachers reach their highest potential. We believe in unending education, learning through doing and by fostering a collaborative learning community.

In demographics, the occupation of parents in the school is unskilled labor (35%), skilled labor (55%) and salaried workers (10%). The predominant community accessing Isai Ambalam School is SC (Scheduled Caste).

In the past, Isai Ambalam school implemented many alternative teaching techniques including Glenn Doman, Phonics, Rishi Valley. One of them the trans-creation of the Rishi Valley Ladder method in Tamil was well received and over 300 teachers from across TN and Pondicherry were trained at the Isai Ambalam School in the period of 2005-2008 in this method. The method is now successfully prevalent all over TN as the ABL (Activity Based Learning) methodology.

However, a lot has changed in the last decade in terms of schooling around Alankuppam with many schools – both private and govt being available. These have also become accessible and acceptable with various benefits provided to children in schools that are registered. Over the last few years the children at higher grades were joining registered schools and this year the school has become recognized under CBSE as the elementary section of New Era Secondary School (also an Auroville Outreach school). Children graduating from Isai Ambalam school have done well both academically, sports as well as values they have inculcated in their lives. Academically, last year the 10th grade topper at NESS was from Isai Ambalam School.

The schools work not only the students academic needs, but also the needs in critical skills, competencies and values. We believe that working on the foundation of values and critical skills in the context of life and (Education-by-Design) EBD will support both the curricular needs as well as a holistic education that we aspire to provide as an Auroville school. There are over 10 engineers who volunteer at the school working with the children on STEM activities.

We believe that children and teachers should together create a collaborative learning community where both the teacher and children are partners in learning and growth. We have seen this in action through the longer EBDs and we believe the narrow goals of the curriculum can be sufficiently met through theme based EBDs that span over a month. We wish to improve competencies in English, Tamil, Math and problem solving and inculcate scientific temperament among children.