Though the syllabus requires students in Std. 1 and 2 to have only two subjects – English and Mathematics, at Walnut School they do a whole lot more. In addition to these the students study Science, EVS and Reading as core subjects.
Why do we teach Environmental Studies (EVS)? EVS gives them a good idea of the world around them. Our students learn about how everyday things work – how an eraser erases, an air conditioner works, putting out fires, how matches are made and so much more. These are things which the students observe in their daily life, and make them inquisitive to find out more. They learn about relations, how to help at home, how to keep clean, how to take care of pets and values. They learn about disabilities and special needs and develop their sensitivities as well.
We also have certain periods in the curriculum set aside for activities that improve listening skills. Students are encouraged to express their thoughts in English, which is not their mother tongue. This encourages the students to think in English as well. When all the four skills come together, a child’s language develops effectively!
Subject Wise Classrooms
The subjectwise classroom concept that starts in Kindergarten continues right up to Std. 10. in Walnut School. That means the children move to a different classroom for each period. Each room has interiors customized to teach that particular subject! So, the classroom becomes a learning aid too! Children learn science in the Science Lab, Math in the Math lab and Social studies in the Social studies room! Moving between rooms also gives our students a five minute break after each period, which keeps them alert and fresh, even at the end of the school day. All this results in better learning and a very interesting school day.
At Walnut, students have a separate period each day just for reading. They get to work through the pronunciation of words and understand sentence structures. They are encouraged to build on their sight reading and also guess the meaning of certain words, based on the context. The difficulty level of the stories steadily goes on increasing. With this, the students learn how to read properly and understand what they are reading in the process. All of this helps them to prepare for the higher standards, where skimming content becomes a necessary skill.
Board Exam Preparation
Right from Std 1, our students start preparing for dealing with exams. We have three practice tests before each exam – that ensures that the students get familiar with the format, time management, content handling and the actual exam scenario. It gives them time to recover from ‘silly mistakes’ and give their best performance where it counts. Also, by the time they finish with the practice tests, they are so comfortable with the idea of writing the test that there is no stress at all. Thus Walnut has happy and high achievers. And this system gives them learning habits for a lifetime! From Std 1 to 5, they have 4 unit tests a year and 3 practice tests before each unit test.
At Walnut School, all students have a sports period everyday. In Std. 1 and 2 our students learn yoga, gymnastics, basketball and also play group games. Sports helps them develop a good personality, its a stress buster and teaches them about teamwork. It adds a daily physical activity into their routine and this habit stays with them even in later life.
Art and Craft
Art and craft is also taken very seriously at Walnut. The students are exposed to a variety of art forms. They learn about patterns, perspectives and forms to create art. They also try out seasonal and traditional artwork to take home.
Walnut students learn a lot about computers and computational thinking through the CS Pathshala program of ACM and Google. They learn problem solving, algorithms, pattern recognition, computational thinking, analysis and logical thinking. They also learn digital literacy and how to use the computer. Students are made to formulate simple algorithms like making tea, or packing their bags for school in these classes.
Students have a library period in their timetable. The special thing about this period at Walnut is that it is never eaten up by other subject teachers! The ambience is relaxing. They get to browse and pick a story book of their liking and they can sit cosily and read away! The teacher also reads out stories to them with voice and sound effects. All this gets them interested in the wonderful world that books open up!
Performing Arts & Events
A lot of performance art training happens in Walnut as there are so many events lined up in their school year. They learn acting, dancing, singing, speeches and dramatized readings. There is something or the other every few weeks for the students to look forward to. There are two big events each year – the Carnival and the Gathering. There are medium sized events like the Sports Day, Science Fair, Entrepreneur Fair and the Independence Day celebration. There are tons of other competitions and the art day as well. The exposure they get is invaluable and they build a lot of confidence in the process. All children participate in every event – no child is left behind. They enjoy being a part of all school activities. There is no extra charge for participation / training / drapery in any event! Parents are allowed to take as many photos and videos as they wish. Walnut School shares photos and videos of the events freely.
In the middle of the school day, the students have a snack break. They do not have to eat their food in the classroom or sitting on the ground. They have a cafeteria where they have tables to sit at. They form groups with their friends and have a nice chat and laugh as they take a mid-day break. There are also presentations with news, GK and other information playing in the background, which they can catch after their break before going to class. That’s fun and interesting too!
A balanced schedule, good timetable and subject wise classrooms keeps the day interesting for Walnut students. Once their schedule is done, it is time to go home. They line up as per their buses, board them and head home, with smiling faces – as they have thoroughly enjoyed their school day. Safety and security is very important and ID cards are matched when they head back and are handed over to their parents or caretakers. If the process is not followed, the child is brought back to the school! That is how careful we are at Walnut about the well being of our children.
Sometimes, some children don’t quite pick up a concept properly in the classroom. If the weakness is ignored, it becomes bigger and bigger and then the child just loses interest in studies altogether. English and Mathematics are two subjects where this becomes very dangerous because they really need to know earlier concepts when they learn new ones. So we take special efforts for these two subjects in the school. The teacher checks the progress, understanding and performance of each child every day. The children who are falling behind that week are then asked to come to school on Saturday with their parents. The concepts are taught again. Since this is not their regular classroom, we also use the local language to help them understand the idea better. The children are divided into small groups, there are more teachers around them and the parents are also taught how to help the children during the week at home. This helps them slowly overcome their weaknesses and stay with the rest of the class.
The students get Super English and Super Math sheets which are interesting activities for extra practice. That way the students get something to do at home and the parents do not have to go out hunting for practice material.
Parents in Loop
Walnut parents are properly kept in loop. They get weekly updates about their child’s classroom and hands on activities. 12 times a year, the parents get to meet the teachers one on one. That way all problems can be handled properly in the best interest of the child. Individual feedback helps parents understand the child’s progress better. How do we manage to do so much in a school day and over the year, year after year? Well, detailed planning is at the heart of every activity that goes on at Walnut.
Under the guidance of our mentor, Arpita Karkare, we have a huge R and D team with experts from different fields who are making sure that the children get the best possible schooling experience. This dedicated team creates the content, trains the teachers, keeps doing quality checks and makes sure that all our Walnut students remain Tough Outside and Smart Inside! And that’s our school in a nutshell! Find out what our young kids do in grades 3 to 5 here.
At Walnut, we believe that a strong hold over a language, especially English, is what is going to take a child places. So, to get the students very comfortable with English they are encouraged to use it in many different ways – and one such activity which we have designed is the reading theatre. The students are handed scripts and in different readings their roles get shuffled and the students try their hand at trying out various accents and voice modulations. The ultimate objective is to get them as comfortable in English as they are in their mother tongue. All this is possible only at Walnut School – as the activities and academic distribution is very well planned and executed.