BEYOND ACADEMICS

Extracurricular activities have always been promoted amongst students by St. Andrews School. Students are often encouraged to join these activities as a way to find an outlet for self-expression, learn a new skill, be involved in the school’s repertoire of teams, develop a vocation and add to their lifelong learning.  I got to know personally from two of our alumni that St. Andrews not only conducts a wide variety of co-curricular activities but they also ensure their students’ loyal participation.

You can take an Andrewite out of school but you cannot take the school out of an Andrewite. It has been a joy to speak to two ex-students, V. S. Grace and Sirisha Janampally. They have shared their memories of their time spent at the school, especially those carefree hours between three and four thirty when extracurricular activities were the happening thing to do.

Interviewer: Can you take me through a typical day practicing for a major school event?

Grace: We used to enjoy spending time with our classmates when practicing for events like the school play and, do you remember Lloyd, he was the Pied Piper in one of the plays.

Sirisha: Oh I remember Lloyd; he was in your class?! I was in the school band and also a member of the NCC with NCC practices every Saturday after school. I used to go off for ten days to the Gymkhana grounds for the NCC camp which taught me how to be independent.

Interviewer: When you were in school, how much time do you remember spending doing extracurricular activities?

Grace: I don’t remember how much time, but I do remember that we used to eagerly wait for the chance to stay back and take part in an activity just so that we could spend time with our friends.

Interviewer: What was your favourite activity to be involved in?

Grace: I remember winning the first prize in the Snowman Making Competition. I thoroughly enjoyed Art and Craft activities. The things I learned from these activities have stood the test of time as I am able to use the same skills in teaching pre-primary students right here at St. Andrews.

Sirisha: I would say my favourite was being part of the school band. It gave me more time to spend with my friends during class hours and we were always excited to learn new instruments.

Interviewer: Did your teachers encourage you to participate in extracurricular activities?

Grace: Mary D’Silva ma’am, who was our Vice Principal, encouraged me to take part in extracurricular activities. Shamita ma’am, the Principal of St. Andrews’ Bowenpally and Marredpally campuses, was also our English teacher at that time. Both she and K. Anuradha ma’am inspired me to speak and narrate plays on stage. This support has made me the person I am today, a courageous pre-primary teacher. Also, Gracy Rajan ma’am motivated me to participate in the Story Writing Competition and I won the first prize. My Class 2 teacher, Maria ma’am, taught me cursive handwriting for which I am appreciated even today. All my teachers at St. Andrews were sure to provide us with wisdom and discipline as well as encouragement for our creative abilities. They have had a lasting impact.

Sirisha: Gracy Rajan ma’am encouraged me too during my time in the school band.

Interviewer: Could you share your memories from one of your Sports Days?

Grace: We used to participate in many formations and drills, such as ‘Animal Drill’. It was a lot of fun as it involved moving to jungle themed music. At one event, the 2007 Military World Games, our then President and Chief Minister were the chief guests. We danced to the sounds of the Michael Jackson song ‘Heal the World’, during the event, and I got to wear a shimmering golden dress which I still have today. The rehearsals for this dance gave us many happy hours of being exempt from studies.

Interviewer: What skills/qualities/values did you gain from participating in extracurricular activities?

Grace: My teachers at St. Andrews have taught me to carry myself with dignity and speak with confidence. St. Andrews has also given me the discipline to manage my day-to-day routine.

Sirisha: We have also had a chance to develop our leadership qualities by being chosen as United Students Organisation officers several times during our school days. We now know how to manage a group, inculcate discipline in a large number of students, maintain cleanliness of our surroundings, and manage the punctuality and dressing standards of multiple students.

Interviewer: If you had a chance to relive your last year in school, which extracurricular club would be involved in and why?

Grace: I would join the Literary Club and narrate plays again because in our day there were no clubs or organizations to join.

Sirisha: I would go back to the school band and become their captain. I would love to give the special signal to my band mates when starting, changing or stopping the formations.

While reliving the past might not be an option, Sirisha and Grace have the opportunity to work at their alma mater and continue their association with the school. In fact, Grace has even enrolled her daughter at St. Andrews and says that every time she dresses her daughter for school she is reminded of the good old days. Both Grace and Sirisha cherish the moments they spent with school friends especially during the fruitful hours exploring St. Andrews’ range of co-curricular activities.

Like their counterparts in the top CBSE, ICSE and International schools in Hyderabad and Bangalore, the students of St. Andrews get to experience stimulating and competitive extracurricular activities that are designed to expand their horizons. The clubs and organizations offered at St. Andrews include – the Literary Club, the Quiz Club, the School Band, the School Choir, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Youth for Service (YFS) and the Student Council. The depth and range of our co-curricular activities allow our students to develop outstanding skills that stay with them throughout their lives.

COMPUTER COMPETITIONS @ ST. ANDREWS

At St. Andrews, we aim to prepare students to be technologically proficient for a globally competitive environment. The Computer Studies Department at school has designed a curriculum that is challenging and enjoyable at the same time. Children learn to use a host of software applications to complete tasks that range from creating images and animations to coding and designing web pages. St. Andrews takes pride in the fact that the Computer Studies curriculum is age appropriate and trains students on both basic and advanced skills according to their capacity and understanding. Students are exposed to computers right from when they enter kindergarten.

When students enter lower kindergarten they attend computer classes once a week and are shown how to operate a computer, how to use a mouse and how they are to sit in a computer lab. Learning to use the mouse enhances these students’ hand to eye coordination which in turn improves their overall growth. As students progress to upper kindergarten, they are not only learning to use the keyboard and type simple words, such as their name, class and section, but they are also being exposed to their first software application. Once students enter primary school they are taught the different keyboard functions and can access a variety of games and puzzles. Over the years, students learn to manipulate commands to create images. Students also learn to type using the correct finger placement.

In Middle School, the applications and operations they learn become more and more complex. Students are now learning to work with spreadsheets and slide presentations. Students are introduced to databases and they learn 3D Animation using codes. As they near the senior school, students learn to create a web page as well as edit photos. Once they reach senior school, students learn coding using HTML which helps them format web pages. Learning these advanced skills in coding and web page development prepares students when it comes to updating their bio-data and applying for jobs. St. Andrews aims to send out students, into the workforce, who are confident in a variety of software skills and applications.

Each year, the Computer Studies Department hosts competitions for its students from all classes and sections. Unlike other competitions where only top performing students are selected to participate, the Computer Department ensures that every student gets to participate and encourages the top three winners with first, second and third prize badges. Primary aged students participate in Tux-A-Do, Tux-O-Art, K-Magic and Code Turtle where they are competing to see who can create the best image. Students of the middle school participate in Meritorious Word, Show-Pro and 3D Animax where they create the most innovative poster, pamphlet and presentation with animations. By the time they reach class 8, students are competing to design the most creative web pages in Web-O-Logic. Senior school students get to be quizzed on their computer know-how in the I.T. Whiz Quiz competitions that tests their technological savvy based on the knowledge they have gained from kindergarten to Class 8.

Computer competitions at St. Andrews offer trendsetting and contemporary learning experiences that will soon feature in the latest Whitefield, Bengaluru branch. St. Andrews has crafted a curriculum that is overtaking the information technology scenario of the best CBSE, ICSE and International schools in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

 

MOST IMPORTANT PARENTING TIPS FOR BOOSTING YOUR CHILD’S RESULTS

According to a study, “Good parenting is more important than a good school to a child’s academic success.” Researchers have found that youngsters do best when their parents help them with homework, emphasize the importance of education and attend school events. Here are some of the ways parents can improve their child’s academic performance.

  • Parents can spend time reading with their children. While some parents might take this to mean reading stories to their children, studies have shown that parents who allow their child active participation while reading stories with them have a better chance of improving the literacy of their child.
  • Parents can also spend quality time talking to their children. They can find out about what their child has learned and experienced at school, and they can learn about what motivates their child at school. This could lead to a productive talk on how school is an important part of life bringing about a positive attitude towards education.
  • Talking to their child’s teacher and being involved in their child’s school is another way parents can enhance their child’s performance at school. There are several ways to get involved. Parents can attend conferences, meetings and committees that are geared towards the parents of the school.
  • An intelligent child, without the discipline to work towards their future plans, doesn’t always have a successful career. Parents who want to see their child thrive in school must establish rules in order to inculcate self-discipline, respect and responsibility so that their children can work conscientiously and independently.
  • Since learning is an active process that requires sufficient participation on the child’s part, parents can look for ways to encourage active learning by using everyday experiences as teaching opportunities. For example, they could take their teenage child to the bank and teach them about saving money and opening a savings bank account.
  • Parental ambition in moderation can have a positive influence on a child’s academic results. While it isn’t enough to only look for ‘A’ grades, parents can have hopes, dreams and ambitions for their child and share these with their child. They can also encourage and support their child’s ambitions even though they might be different from their own.
  • Parents have a considerable part to play in their child’s academic success and they need to believe in their child’s capabilities by voicing out their praise and encouragement.

Recent trends from the top CBSE schools in metro cities, such as Bangalore and Chennai, show that parents are using social media to become more active in their child’s school.

Good parenting is critical to boosting children’s academic results. A few more methods for parents to consider are to encourage and support their child to take music lessons, exercise through their favourite sport, sleep undisturbed for eight hours, stick to their study routines, create a homework space, set and follow disciplinary rules, and attend school regularly. Parents can also monitor their child’s peer group, homework time and TV/Internet/Video Game time. They can teach their child how to organize their study time, use the internet effectively and be well prepared to write exams.

MENTAL PREPARATION TIPS FOR STUDENTS TO GET READY FOR COURSEWORK AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

With the long summer holidays coming to an end, students and their parents are starting to pack away their bicycles and story books and shake the dust off of their school bags and pencil boxes. Taking a few weeks to prepare for school can set students ahead of their classmates in the race for marks and trophies and allow them time to mentally line up with what the upcoming school year has in store. Here are a few things that students can do to prepare for school.

  • Spacing out your summer holiday homework into smaller goals and setting reminders along the way can provide you with much needed peace of mind.
  • Review your class notes to remind yourself what you learned last year. You don’t have to study for long hours. A quick refresher will get your mind ready for studying and make the first few weeks back easier.
  • Write down the major lessons and ideas that were covered in each subject. It is likely that you will not remember everything, but the very act of recalling previous progress will get your mind ready for studies. Don’t worry if you don’t fully understand all the concepts: reexamining and rediscovering specific topics is a natural part of the learning process.
  • Looking ahead is always useful to give you an idea of where you are headed so that you can set yourself achievable goals. If given the opportunity, get a list or syllabus of what you will be learning about this year.
  • In order to get ahead, it is a good idea to set specific goals. Plan a study schedule and explore extracurricular clubs and activities provided by your school to find an option that matches your interests.
  • Picking a study space that is conducive to mastering your subjects may mean that you need to eliminate distractions, i.e. noise or television.
  • Practice your school day routine by allocating time to study, sleeping and getting up early.  Eat three full meals a day and make sure you plan sufficient breaks for playing and other fun activities.
  • Stay organised by putting together your uniform, school bag, stationery, textbooks, notebooks and project files for your first day in school.