Published: 23rd April 2018
Of family and dignity: This Alappuzha school's circular is what every parent needs to read
Home is the first school for any kid — here's how an Alappuzha-based Brightland Discovery school's founder is making this learning experience fruitful for the kids
Dear parents, when was the last time you had a dinner-table conversation with your child? If not recently, you can use these summers as an opportunity to not only spend time with your children but to also raise them as better humans. In a super heartwarming gesture, Alappuzha's Brightland Discovery School's founder came up with a notice in 2016 (that has since gone viral) that lists 'holiday assignments' for the parents — it consists of tasks that aim at exposing the kids to stories from the family, societal ethics and a dignified lifestyle.
With the circular, founder Usha Venkatesh wants the kids to learn the value of sweat and blood of the "helpers in our society". "Have at least two meals with your kids. Teach them the importance of hard work of the farmer and ask them not to waste their food. Let them wash their own plates after the meal. Children learn the dignity of labour from such activities," the circular reads.
Venkatesh explains why it was important to release the guidelines. "I manage a school in Alappuzha. It started in 1989 and I have observed that the children haven't changed much since. They have the same curiosity-level, innocence and joyfulness. However, what has changed is the environment around them. I observed that the parents were obsessed with the academic excellence and were losing the personal touch with their kids. That's when I thought of writing this letter to the parents, she said.
Venkatesh wanted the kids to learn the essential lessons at home. "Lessons imbibed from parents during the childhood will invariably reflect on the future of the child as an adult.
One of the best time of family bonding is while having meals. Even a simple meal of a dal-chaaval and sabji is the hard work of numerous people whom we don't know. This lesson develops compassion in children. That's what I meant in the first point of the letter," she explains.
While the parents enlighten their kids on the dedication of the farmers, they might as well take the chance to "take them to their work spot and let their children understand that they work very hard to support the family," the founder suggests.
As family plays a very important part in your child's life, the founder wants the parents to "share stories about their childhood and family history". And who is better at doing this than the kids' grandparents? Don't be surprised because the circular covers this aspect as well. To build a healthy relationship with the elders in the family, the circular instructs the parents to make their kids "visit the grandparents because their love and emotional support is very important for them".
Moving on from the family and society, the school administration believes that plants and trees are an integral part of the child's growth. It encourages parents "to raise a kitchen garden with their kids and let them play outdoors, get hurt and get dirty because an indoor comfortable life on the sofa will make them lazy."
And of course, learning shouldn't be put on the back burner — "Learn five new words in English and list them on a notebook. Keep them away from TV and laptops and give them story books with colourful pictures," the circular read.
The circular ends on a personal note for the parents — Look into their eyes of your little one and thank God for giving you one wonderful gift. In a few years from now, they will be soaring to greater heights.
The letter, undoubtedly gained a lot of appreciation, and parents stated that "They saw it as a reminder of something they had ignored. Everyone thought it was simply brilliant," Pai concluded.
The same letter was adopted by Annai Violet Matric and Higher Secondary School in Chennai as its principal Lydia Devasagayam was extremely impressed by the move. "It's just that I felt that the world has become techno-savvy, we are losing our kids in the rat race. We are focusing on marks and making money, because of which the society at large has become selfish and is losing values. I sent this circular as a refreshing break from the mundane. Until and unless parents invest time and create lovely memories for our kids out there, we are going to lose our precious kids," she said.