The Importance of Play


Children should spend a good amount of time playing outside the house. This is an age old truth that we, in the 21st Century, seem to have forgotten. Our children nowadays either spend time cooped up at home using devices which lead to screen addiction or are bundled off to various classes and sent for activities and events which may or may not really be beneficial to them. Where is the time to play then?

The saying, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, holds so true in a majority of cases. The freedom and joy of playing outdoors unfettered by any stifling rules and restrictions, the sense of exhilaration in running around, and indulging in games such as Hide ‘n’ Seek, Hopscotch and many others, even playing sports such as cricket, volleyball and many more, is lost to countless children. So much so that of late doctors have been prescribing play to children of varying ages.

Play is now considered as much needed therapy for children who need some time off to be by themselves and discover the pleasures of the great outdoors. Just a few needful rules to be adhered to such as the common sense ones of respecting the other children they are playing with, not doing dangerous stunts, and not taking unnecessary risks. These are a few common sense rules which children innately understand are for their own good.

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognised that play is crucial to the development of children and it is their birthright. Sedentary lifestyles, reduced play time, more time being spent on gadgets and handheld devices are a few reasons which are the cause of low self esteem among many children and play could alleviate these to a large extent.

Play enhances and promotes physical, psychological, social and emotional well being. It strengthens the parent child bond if the parents get actively and constructively involved in their children’s play time. It is not a prerequisite that parents should play with their children. What is important is the quality not quantity of time that parents spend with their children. Even just monitoring play time and ensuring that their children are leading a balanced life vis a vis play, would be of immense help.

So, what really are the tangible benefits of play? Well, children learn practical trouble shooting and problem solving skills, they blend in with their peers, become aware of cultural, gender, and other differences and respect them; they improve their social skills and speaking, and listening and understanding skills are honed. Creative talents are unearthed, leadership roles come into prominence and even career goals can be set through play, as children become clear about what they want in and from life. Parents too will benefit from this as they become closer to their children.

Hence, encouraging children to play would be one wise move which 21st century parents should make in the best interests of their children.


How to Talk to Children so that they Listen


We are well into the New Year 2019 now. As parents and educators, one of our New Year resolutions should be about spending more time talking to children…especially the school going ones – how to talk to them so that they listen, is what worries us most. This would surely be an intriguing topic for some of us, a non topic for others, but it is nonetheless an important one.

The 21st Century has thrown up many challenges, not the least of them being the problem of face to face communication. With the advent of newer means of technology at our disposal and the proliferation of hand held and portable devices for communication on the rampant increase, personal conversations have become rare occurrences with people resorting to con calls, audio and video chats, SMS and Whatsapp messages as well as connectivity on other social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. Even official discussions, meetings, seminars and conferences are now being conducted over Skype and Zoom and other such mediums. Hangouts is one of the ways in which the younger generation actually hangs out! In such a scenario, how do parents and teachers connect with children who are more comfortable with online and virtual conversations than the ones in real life? No wonder some of us may feel a sense of disconnect with our children when in their physical company.

The answer does not lie in resorting to messaging or video calling our children and learners but in using the following simple tips to connect with the children who mean the most to us.

When talking to children we should:

  1. Smile and greet our children when we meet them at any time of the day. A smile is a great way to connect and radiate warmth that envelops and cheers up the children. When we say ‘Hello’, or ‘Good Morning’, we will get a reply which can then lead on to the next step as the connection is established. Maybe we can even have our own special ways of greeting our children.
  2. Ask leading to and open ended questions like, ‘So, how was your day?’, ‘What are you thinking about now?’, ‘What is it that I can do for you?’, ‘How have you and your friends been doing in school?’ or even something as simple as, ‘Which subject/time of the day/snack/book/movie do you like the most? And why?’. These can be great conversation starters.
  3. Give ample time to our child/learner. Set aside time for the conversation. Children too, just like us, love to be heard patiently. Let us respect that. Do not try to close conversations in a hurry. Do not raise your voice. Do not keep looking over their shoulders or here and there while talking. Look at the child/learner in their eyes, but do not stare. That would be disconcerting. Though, one should be firm, in a polite and friendly manner, in case the child/learner does not follow the decorum of the conversation.
  4. No matter what turn the conversation takes, let us not forget to smile at times, nod our head, use appropriate, non threatening body language, and most importantly, listen to them when they talk so that they may return the favour when we have something to say.
  5. Speak in a positive, encouraging tone. Instead of asking, ‘Was the test difficult to attempt?’, we should instead ask, ‘Which question in the test did you find the most exciting?’. A statement such as. ’As you haven’t been doing any reading, I don’t think your language will improve!’ could demoralize children and put them off reading. It would be far better to say, ‘Over the holidays you could read this book. It seems to be enjoyable!’.

There are many more ways to make a conversation interesting for children. Let us begin by using these 5 crucial tips which will be most beneficial to us. Let’s begin talking in the way our children would love to listen to us!

Selecting the Right School


Due to the mushrooming of numerous educational institutions all over India, parents have a plethora of options to choose from when selecting a school for their children or when changing from one school to another. There is an array of boards, statewide, national and international; and myriad curricular and co curricular subjects and activities which can be mind boggling and create a real dilemma! With the admissions season on in full swing, the question arises: Which school to choose and why?

Here’s a helpful and purposeful list of the various features that you could count as advantages: the proximity of the school to your place of residence; the curriculum that would best suit the abilities of your child, specially keeping an eye out as to how it would affect future studies, thus selecting the course most apt to lead the student towards a particular career; the qualified and accredited teachers, who will have the maximum interaction with learners, and are the ‘heart’ of any school, so their sensibility, passion, expertise and commitment would be one criteria that can be really decisive; an experienced resource department which would deal with the concerns of SEN (Special Educational Needs) students; and the fee structure, which suits your budget.

Additionally, parents should also look at the facilities and amenities offered such as – Science and IT labs, play areas, library, good infrastructure in the classroom, seating arrangement and use of modern technological teaching devices; a good SPA programme with students able to choose from a number of sports for e.g. swimming, basketball, cricket, football and others; school clubs like a speech and drama club, an environment club, a literary club and many more; connectivity with the larger world in the form of international activities such as student exchange programmes and skype sessions; the attention paid by the school on students’ safety with trained and efficient security personnel keeping an eye on the children right from the school gate to the corridors, the installation of CCTV would certainly be an added advantage; trained ancillary staff who would be sensitive to the needs of the learners; the transport system well in place with GPS tracking in the school buses and an ancillary staff member accompanying the children to and from school; the cleanliness too would be a crucial aspect as well as a canteen serving freshly made nutritious food; a strong PTA would be a distinct benefit as it speaks of the connection between the two important stakeholders in your children’s education process – you and the teachers.

All these points mentioned above would combine to create a positive overall atmosphere in the school which would be conducive to the well being of your children and enhance their learning experience. We, at VIBGYOR are committed to excellence in education and providing all round support to the learners under our care.

Remember a happy school is a healthy school! So, dear parents, please choose wisely for the sake of your children.

Be Happy! Be Strong!


World Mental Health Day was marked on 10 October 2018. Despite the advancements in many spheres in our country, Mental Health is still stigmatised on a collective level. We need to relook into this very seriously and embrace a positive understanding of how we all can take care of ourselves and not fall prey to depression and other mental illnesses. It is the need of the hour.

Being mentally sound and strong and healthy does not always require therapy or counselling. Sometimes it is the small things that can bring about great relief.

Here are a few easy but vital tips:

Sleep well – it is one of the most crucial aspects for mental peace and well being. Sleeping and waking at the right time should be our priority.
Eat well – regular meal times and a balanced diet are so important.
Drink enough water – drinking the requisite amount of water according to your height and weight is a must. Stay hydrated, stay cool.
Exercise – even a short walk is enough. Or swimming, or aerobics, or going to the gym.
Connect Face to Face, not online – spending time with the people you love, your family and friends, brings about a sense of happiness and wellness. This support system can be a life saver!
Make time for your hobby – creative expression is a great way to uplift one’s mood. It connects you to yourself.

Above all, practise mindfulness in all aspects of your life; it is the quintessential way to self fulfillment.

To Sir/Ma’am With Love


I remember what a student told me some years ago: ‘Ma’am, I respect soldiers and teachers the most. Soldiers, because they safeguard the nation, and teachers, because they build it.’ Such words of wisdom from one so young, a mere 15 year old, gratified me and reaffirmed my faith in my chosen profession.

Everyone wishes to pick the best in whatever they have to select – the best home, clothes, cars, a candidate for a political post, a job, an employee, ingredients for a recipe, equipment for a gym, toys and books for children, art installations, movies, music, technology related items, players for different sports teams, infrastructure and furniture for a building or complex…the list is endless. Everywhere there is a demand for the best.

However, teachers do not get to pick and choose the students they want. They do not even wish to. They are happy with the students they get. And there is a beautiful and powerful reason for this. True teachers simply do not sift through the list of children to keep the ‘best’ for themselves because they think that each child is the best in something or the other. Each child is unique. Each child has a special talent. Each child has something endearing and lovable about her or him. Each child is a challenge and each child is eventually a winner.

Teachers give endlessly of their love and knowledge. In return, all they ask for is love, respect, hard work and integrity.

This is what a teacher is all about. With teachers’ day having been celebrated just about a week ago, let us all strive to make everyday a tribute to our teachers. Let it not be limited to a token day once a year.

Let every day be a HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY!
Outside of books, beyond studies,
Outside of class, beyond syllabus,
Outside of marks, beyond grades,
There’s that One,

Who gives you time, effort, love and guidance.
That’s your Teacher, like no other!
Be grateful, for the one you had.
Be extremely proud, if you are one!
You’re precious! You’re special!

Innovative Formative Assessments at VIBGYOR


Formative Assessments are conducted in all schools worldwide to gain an understanding of the learners’ progress over the academic year. They also enable teachers to implement their classroom methodologies and strategies better. These assessments can be both quantitative as well as qualitative. We are also highly concerned about creating and supporting a culture of mindfulness and community service through some of our innovative formative appraisal endeavours.

Here are some examples of quantitative assessments:

  1. Cyclic/Scheduled Timed Tests with MCQs, Objective Questions from the Textbooks
  2. Subjective Questions based on the Textual Portion
  3. Vivas based on the syllabus content

These are a few types of qualitative assessments:

  1. Class Discussions and Debates
  2. PPT Presentations and Paper Readings
  3. Enactment, Audio Visual Performances, Listening and Speaking Tests
  4. Individual and Class Projects

At VIBGYOR High we have a healthy mix of both qualitative and quantitative assessments so as to estimate the holistic development of the learners and gain a perceptive overview of their progress.

  • We have creative writing tests where learners respond to interesting and exciting narrative and descriptive topics and write their compositions giving free rein to their thoughts.
  • Persuasive and argumentative topics hone their skills of discussion and negotiation.
  • Comprehension passages are carefully selected, keeping the learners’ interests and world view in mind when devising the questions based on the prose passages, drama extracts and poems chosen.
  • Pictures and images are given and learners are exhorted to reply to thought provoking questions or write entire essays.
  • Some exceptional assessments based on subjects like Art give our talented artists myriad opportunities to exercise their imagination and intelligence.
  • Case studies are a part of some of the tests which challenge the thinking and problem solving skills of our young learners.
  • The individual and class projects focus on a number of activities: newspaper /plastic collection and recycling; data collection through surveys and interviews; exchange of handmade gifts among classmates to strengthen ties; learning to conduct a business through actual setting up of small businesses (like food and game stalls) in the school premises on special days; and many more.

At VIBGYOR High, our learners are our world and we show them glimpses of the world through these Formative Assessments. In time, they are ready to face and overcome the challenges of the world!