Inside ATA’s Transformative Online Program
This June 2020, Adyar Theosophical Academy (ATA) made a seamless transition from in-person to online classes. Thanks to the hours and hours of preparation by the Teachers who have attended scores of workshops and continue to do so while seeking out and experimenting with resources to make the knowledge transfer enjoyable and enriching despite the absence of physical interaction. Also a special mention of the children of ATA who have taken to this new medium with their innate curiosity and capacity to adapt.
The Online Program is currently reaching the two-month mark and we have already seen friendships blossom, conversations meander from a range of topics such as the planets in our galaxy to why it rains, the joy of discovery with simple but exciting experiments such as creating a rainbow indoors or testing the presence of air in a mug of water.
3 hours a day. 5 days a week. The knowledge sharing has grown in remarkable ways. Weekly projects centre the discourse. So far we have had Gratitude Week, an exercise inculcating thankfulness in everyday life by means of games, songs and art. Another week saw children learn to say ‘Thank You’ in a variety of languages. A mustard patch was all the rage for a week-long project of monitoring and growing micro greens that resulted in a delicious salad. Minds were put together to come up with doable solutions for air pollution. Now, the students are currently engaged in flexing their storytelling skills.
Children of all Grades have been eased into a number of subjects and topics ranging from Math to Environmental Science among others. This has been made possible by employing learner-centric methods. For instance, learning Hindi with a game of ‘Simon Says’ has led to an easier assimilation of the language by means of association. Meanwhile, in another class Africa is being explored by means of dance, song and food.
The classes though held virtually are as lively and noisy as a live classroom. Children are encouraged to take breaks, stretch their legs, keep their mind in tune with tongue-twisters and brain gym activities.
ATA has infused its Online Program with its motto - Learning Through Transformative Education. And this it does by delivering a wholesome experience by encouraging expression through regular art and crafting sessions where students try their hand at self-portraits and Cubism. Discussions on nutrition result in tossing together yummy treats. Storytelling sessions entertain and allow them to explore new themes and places. The theatre component as well as the creation of a personal Journal has helped students voice their thoughts in myriad ways.
In these times of Covid-19, ATA focuses not only on imparting knowledge but most importantly in connecting children in this new normal that seeks to keep us physically distanced, and thereby create a sense of well-being and community.