Published: 30th August 2020
This Hyderabad-based non-profit that gives importance to the socio-emotional well-being of kids in a non-virtual way
The seven toolkits they have are on building resilience, healthy relationships, social skills, critical thinking, growth mindset, communication skills and self-management. This is how it works
Online education is managing to just about keep students on track academically, at least for those who have the privileged access to it, but their socio-emotional balance needs to be in check too. Which is all the more necessary, if you think about it, given the living nightmare that our lives have become, thanks to the pandemic. Learning Curve Foundation was already doing this by enabling the teacher and the school environment itself, but now that schools are closed, they have developed another way to do it and you'll be happy to note that it's not online!
Parameswaran (in the picture) started this non-profit with his wife, Gayatri Natarajan | (Pic: Learning Curve Foundation)
With the aim of preparing students for life, not just jobs, Subbu Parameswaran, Co-founder and CEO of the Learning Curve Foundation, started the non-profit in 2016 to focus on the socio-emotional well-being of the child. The model they followed was building the capacity of teachers and giving them a curriculum to implement in the classroom so that it directly benefits the children. And this was being implemented in over 200 schools. Then, the pandemic arm-twisted them into innovating beyond the realm of online to ensure a wider reach.
They decided against giving all the kits together because they want to alter them as per the feedback they get. They will distribute all the kits over six months, in a phased manner
"We spent the last month turning the curriculum into seven toolkits with activity sheets, stories and affirmation cards on well-being," informs the 45-year-old. Of course, the big question that arises is: 'How did they manage to distribute these kits?'. Simple, they asked parents to meet them halfway, literally. Making use of their already established connections with government schools and low-income private schools, they reached out to them, and the local administrations, delivered the kits to them and asked the parents to collect it from there. "It was just about identifying places that can serve as nodal points. Then, using the database of 12,000 numbers of parents we have, we asked them to collect it and today, about 7,000 have access to the first toolkit," he says triumphantly.
The team | (Pic: Learning Curve Foundation)
These kits are essentially for students between eight to 14 years of age. It asks simple and introspective questions like 'How do you feel after reading this story?' and so on — dependent on the theme of the toolkit. Not just this, the child receives two weekly calls while parents receive fortnightly calls. They are even encouraging school teachers and local administrations to stay in touch with the parents and children. "When children go back to school, nothing will be the same. Thus, they don't need just physical immunity, they need mental and emotional immunity as well, which is what our toolkits help build. Children will learn only when they are ready to learn so these kits also help with readiness," says the Co-founder who pursued his MSc in Marketing from Robert Gordon University, UK.
Though it's not mandatory, parents are encouraged to send pictures of completed worksheets to them over WhatsApp
Reflective questions one can expect:
- Think of a time when you got upset with someone – what made you upset with them?
- What could you do differently in this situation?
- What would you stop-start-continue as you learn about being resilient?
- Think of a new goal you would like to achieve, and how you could plan this.
A child using the kit | (Pic: Learning Curve Foundation)
For more on them, check out learning-curve-foundation.org