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Items filtered by date: December 2013

An emotional goodbye

A royal welcome is the only way to describe the way in which we were greeted today at Jasola for our last day in India. Several children ran towards us with garlands of marigolds, just before we were escorted down a red carpet with flower petals being thrown at our feet. We were then led onto the main stage where we were presented with a bouquet of beautiful flowers, a rosette and a plaque, to thank us for their honoured guests at their sports meet. We were then introduced individually by Sarah, the principal of Jasola and had the opportunity to address the crowd and speak about our time spent in India. The sports meet provided the four Good Samaritan schools the opportunity to come together to showcase their sporting talents, an event very similar to our sports day. Our favourite event of the morning was the 50m hurdles, which turned into the 50m sprint and duck due to the hurdles being too tall for the grade 1 and 2 children to jump over. Another way to compare today’s events would be to say that it was similar to a mini Olympics with even an opening and closing ceremony. There were balloons, prayers, speeches, the releasing of doves, trophies for the winners and the raising of the Indian flag. Not to forget a special dance prepared by Dakshinpuri and a song sung by children from the upper school. Overall the day was one that we will never forget and will cherish for a very long time.

After an emotional goodbye we visited Qutub Minar, a tower over 76 metres tall built in the 1100s. We also visited a local saloon where we got some traditional mehindi so that we could share some Indian culture with the children on our return.

Our experience in India has been eye-opening  and has allowed us to reflect on our own educational practice. We have learnt a vast amount about the ways in which the Indian school system works and were able to see first-hand how much the children value their education. Their traditions, values and beliefs shone through in every aspect of their lives that they shared with us and we will forever remember our time spent here in India.


Day Seven

We have been here a week and today was our last normal teaching day at Jasola. Today we taught three different classes from grade 2 to 4 and came away with different pieces of work to share with our school. We then spent the rest of the day talking with the principal of the primary section of the school, discussing the link and thinking about new ideas. A bit of time was also spent talking about their trip to England, planning what they would like to gain from their experience. Whilst we were there, preparations for tomorrow’s sports meet were taking place, flags were being hung, banners were being made and children were practising their events. All of the staff and pupils were excited by the build-up and we are anticipating a day to remember.

Chhattapur was the afternoon’s first destination, where we got to see many different temples and even a massive statue of the monkey God Hanuman.  We then visited one of Delhi’s many gardens and finished the afternoon off with a trip to another local market. Throughout the day we got to sample some authentic Aloo Paratta, an Indian dish made of flour, water, potato and spices, the verdict was…… delicious!



Pigs, cows, dogs, goats wearing coats and chickens were just a few of the animals we saw on our way to Dakshinpuri this morning.  Today we visited the third of our link schools and received another fabulous welcome.  As our car pulled up to the front of the school all of the children were ready to greet us with songs, marigold garlands and beautiful hand-made cards.  Out of the three schools this one is the smallest with only 200 children and is in a less affluent area.  The school itself is very small with the children having to sit three to a desk.  However this does not affect their enthusiasm and they clearly have a passion for learning.  As we walked around the school, the children and staff were keen to show us their work and ask us questions about the way in which we teach in England.  We then got to teach two different classes giving the Indian teachers the opportunity to learn from us.  Towards the end of our visit we got to watch some of the children practising for their sports meet on Friday, which involved the children racing down the streets outside of the school, dodging stray cows along the way.

The president's garden was our next stop, an opportunity that is only available for people for one month of the year.  The garden was full of colour with a wide variety of plants and flowers, some with names too difficult to pronounce!  There was even a tree called a Banyam, which was a spectacular sight as its branches grew back down towards the ground and re-rooted themselves.  India Gate was our final stop of the afternoon, a giant archway built as a memorial for the Indians who have died fighting in the wars.


Madanpur Khadar

We spent the day at Madanpur Khadar, a school on the outskirts of Delhi situated in a slum area.  We met the staff and pupils, finding out how they teach the children. We were made to feel very welcome and were again greeted with a garland of marigolds and a card the children had made. The children had an assembly to start the day and did some light exercise in rows.  They stood to attention until they were dismissed to class. We observed some of the teachers and taught two classes.  

In the afternoon we visited Humayun’s tomb, a smaller version of the Taj Mahal built out of red sandstone. In the evening we went to Dilly Haat, a market situated near our hotel.



The day at Jasola

This morning the alarm went off at 6:30 to be up ready to go to school for 7:30.  In India the school day starts earlier and finishes earlier due to the heat of the sun in the summer months.  When we arrived at Jasola we were greeted by Sarah, the principal of the lower school, who took us to assembly. There, we were presented with a garland of marigolds to wear around our necks as a greeting.  The children stood to attention and sang us a song.  We had a tour of the school and were surprised by its size and facilities. We taught three different classes how to use the parachute we made for them.  All of the children loved the experience and were very excited to have us there.  We then had a project meeting with the three teachers who will be visiting England in March. We were also lucky to meet Ananthi, the founder of the schools, who met us at the end of the day and joined us for an Indian lunch.  


In the afternoon we visited Old Delhi where we were guided around on a cycle rickshaw and taken through the streets to different places of interest.  One of our favourite places was the spice market which was situated high up on the rooftops.  Our day then finished with a visit to a sari stall where we bought ourselves a sari as a souvenir.  



Lodhi Gardens

Tut tut ride number two took us to the deer park in Delhi, to join in birthday celebrations, where we had the opportunity to ride a camel and an Indian elephant. Afterwards we went to a traditional Indian restaurant and tried some vegetarian Indian dishes. We then went onto Lodhi gardens and looked around the tombs and monuments built in the 15th century and found out about some of their history  from a local expert.

Tomorrow we are going into our link school, Josola, and will be meeting the pupils and teachers.  We will be teaching four lessons, presenting them with a handmade parachute, then meeting with the principals of each of the different schools and creating a project plan. 




Taj Mahal

This morning we got up at 7:00am ready for our day in Agra.  The journey was a four-hour drive along a newly-built dual-carriageway although we were unsure whether we would be able to see the Taj Mahal due to the thick mist that hung in the air. Luckily by the time we reached the city the sun had burnt through the mist and a blue sky was on the horizon.  We were greeted by our tour guide Amrish, a local who was brought up in the city.  Our first stop was the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world. Our guide told us the story of its origins and led us around supplying us with interesting facts along the way. In order to preserve the Indian marble of the Taj Mahal visitors are required to remove their shoes or wear covers over them. We all had our photos taken on the Diana bench located centrally to the monument.

Next we visited ‘Handicrafts Palace’ and were shown the process of inlay work, the ancient way of decorating marble with various kinds of semi-precious stones. This work is as old as the Taj Mahal and the Taj is decorated all over in this way with stones such as Malachite, Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli.  The work was so beautiful and intricate and we learnt that it can take two men up to 20 days to make a circular piece with a diameter of 25cm.

Before we travelled back to Delhi we went to Kohimoor, a family-run jewellers to see some beautiful tapestries and jewellery.  The tapestries contained jewels provided by the family and have since been given to them to preserve. Some of the pieces took 30 years to hand stitch by one artist.


Arrived in Delhi

We touched down in New Delhi today at 6:00am GMT, 11:30 Indian time. We were greeted at the airport and travelled into the city. The journey along the way was an eye-opener, cows and stray dogs were roaming the streets and cars and tut tuts were weaving in and out of each other beeping their horns. We spent the rest of the day planning our week and organising our days at the school. 

Today we learnt about how the Good Samaritan School was set up 20 years ago.  Ananthi Jebasingh was in her home in south Delhi and child turned up at her house begging for food.  She gave him some food and the child ran off.  The next day another child came to the house to beg for food. Ananthi Jebasingh wanted to help the children, and found she could make a difference by teaching them, providing them with an education.  Over a period of time two children became four and four became eight.  Before long she had to expand and with the support from the Indian Government teachers were able to create a school with several classrooms, three sites and hundreds of pupils.

Tomorrow we will be visiting the Taj Mahal along with one of the teachers from the school Madanpur Khadar.


Foundation Visit FlyBe

This half term Foundation children have been learning about countries around the world.  As an introduction to their topic they were lucky enough to visit Flybe at Exeter Airport to experience what it is like to go on an aeroplane. 

On the aeroplane the children sat in the seats and used the tray tables to have their snack which was brought round by Mrs Dudley and Mrs Williams using the air steward’s trolley!  They then took it in turns to sit in the pilot’s seat, wear the head phones and talk to the passengers.

All the children (and staff) had a fantastic time and learnt lots from their experiences!

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