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Life Skills & Community Projects

Education needs to incorporate and address skills, experiences and exposure that represent the real world, since they are equally if not more crucial in the development of an individual. Life skills at Balsam Academy is not just an individual program, but a connecting thread that attempts to make all learning pertinent and connected with the real world.

Core Agenda and Objectives
1. To ground learning- Provide

opportunities to demonstrate how school activities connect to students lives with the "community as the laboratory" for real life learning lessons in actual situations. Students become engaged learners once they can see the relevance.

2. To resonate the power of relevance, injecting value and meaning into the entire school experience

Young people need to feel that what they are doing makes a difference, contributes to the welfare of others and believe that they too can make a change. It provides a whole picture of the society our students live in.

3. To build social capital

In the race of developing human capital in the form of scientific, engineering expertise or sophisticated forms of literacy leading to economic expansion, social capital often gets neglected. Schools core responsibility is to develop “whole system thinking” by demonstrating that society consists of groups and sub groups but they are all part of one universe.

4. Create civic habits of the heart

Each act of honesty, services ,responsibility and compassion that teachers and educators encourage and model helps create moral and civic habits of the heart that instill courage to care. These habits, shaped over a lifetime define individual conscience and determine how a person will respond when fellow human beings are hurt, attacked or victimized.

5. To build leaders

As a society we are facing a range of challenges. Solutions seem much more likely to emerge from people who apply their intelligence and competence to immediate problems that demand their attention. We require more people who have the capacity to make the difference, who step forward to do so.

6. Allow democracy to become a habit

As we go back and forth between living it and studying it, over and over, looking at democracy becoming a way of life. When students discover the interdependence of people from different social backgrounds and they learn to relate to them as equals.

Structure of the Program

Life skills and community projects as a formal program begin at Class V and are part of the curriculum until the student graduates from secondary school. The program is envisioned in a way where the skills required for the developmental age, are honed in the LSO classes through activities, discussions, inviting professionals, field visits and games. Complementing these are the community projects, programs that link the skills to real life situations. These situations represent the world that is unspoken and unseen. They are an effort to provoke questions and make us challenge our assumptions and stereotypes. In the long run, irrespective of the position they hold, these experiences are imperative for a holistic development. Each program is over 3 to 4 sessions so as to make them meaningful.

Age-appropriate skills and themes are addressed in the following manner:
Term 1 Life Skills module Objective Community Project
Class 5 My World, Your World Building awareness, sensitization and partnership Twinning with neighbouring school to combat common diseases in villages.
Class 6 The World of Nature Looking beyond for a qualitative life Help farmers in a nearby village to set up compost pits and grow organic vegetables - 'Green Patch initiative'.
Class 7 Champions against odds Understanding others, disorders, sensitization and empathy Research on Autism and connect with people who are affected by this disorder. Sensitize families and help them empathize.
Class 8 The Cyber World Create awareness for cyber safety Educate parents to be safe online and conduct a quiz on 'computers and the cyber world'.
Class 9 Substance Abuse and Addiction Making healthy decisions Street play – 'No' to drug, alcohol and illicit trafficking.Visit de-addiction center.
Class 10 Waste management Case study and design solutions for sustainability Give new life to waste sent for landfills to be transformed at home and school with smart solutions. Partnering with municipality team.
Term 2 Life Skills module Objective Community Project
Class 5 Nature Nurture Prepare for a better tomorrow by making right decisions. Perform a skit on Nature conservation and upload on school website.
Class 6 Board Games Responsible citizenship, sensitization and awareness Design a Board game - 'From Infancy to Happy Old Age' to engage grandparents
Class 7 Art and culture Respect art and culture Promote art in education and present a musical night for villagers.
Class 8 English and the World Languages Understanding and appreciating for globalization Conduct a seminar - Classical languages and literature across the world.
Class 9 Media Literacy Make informed decisions and encourage positive use of Media Associate with the Vellore Traffic Police for Road Safety, create awareness and involve student community to evolve as responsible citizens.
Class 10 Career Guidance Choosing optimal career after 10th. Career Advisors to be invited to the Career Fair at School, SWOT analysis to be made, look out for alternatives to traditional professions.