We decided to move our kids to DLRC in Feb 2020. They had been doing fairly well in their previous school. We were worried that we are unsettling them with the promise of an interesting and joyous learning journey. My wife and I had clearly forgotten about ‘the bird in hand’ and all that. Then March 2020 happened. We only worried more.
    Our kids joined DLRC in June 2020 - older one in JHS or Grade 9 and the younger one in M1 or Grade 5. They had not met most of their teachers and classmates. The school was shifting to online mode for the first time. By this time, we were hearing stories from other schools about how frustrating the experience was - both for the students and the teachers! We were expecting it to be especially tricky because DLRC is known for hands-on learning (tinkering lab, carpentry, farming and the works).
    But when you put learning, in the true sense of the word, at the centre of everything, schools can do a great job. DLRC did not just rise to the challenge. They thrived in it! All the facilitators took everything in their stride - internet outages, teething issues with Zoom, class participation, managing time, naughty kids - without compromising on learning objectives! This was possible because everyone at the school was open for suggestions (from parents as well as kids) and ready to learn. There are many positives about DLRC but these are the ones that really stood out for me:

     

    For the older one in JHS:

    1. Real, enquiry-based learning with facilitators actually facilitating and not teaching (coming from a high pedestal). This becomes even more important while dealing with teenagers.
    2. Learning through different kinds of projects and volunteer activities like writing for the school newsletter (while collaborating with other kids in an online mode as well).
    3. HOWLs - While students have the regular FAs and tests, we have been impressed by the importance given to the ‘Habits of Work and Learning’. The facilitators track these very diligently. Students realise the importance of regular daily behaviours. This is not about playing in the short-term of the current academic year. This helps set them up for life!
    4. Home Rooms - I cannot stress upon the value of the Home Rooms enough. Each student is assigned a couple of facilitators who help the student help herself. The Home Rooms provide a safe space for the student where they can be open and talk to an adult who is not their parent, is not judging them and has their best interests at heart.

    For the younger one in M1:

    1. He asks a lot of questions and we always worry if he’d end up interrupting the class flow or he’ll get discouraged and lose this habit of questioning. Thankfully, the facilitators have dealt with him in the right way and he continues to ask interesting questions!
    2. The teachers have encouraged his outlandish ideas and also insisted on thoroughness and attention to detail where required.
    3. He has worked on some interesting projects, both group and individual and loved it.
    4. The one subject that I loved was ‘ Form Drawing’. Starting with something like this lets children  get comfortable with drawing in general. It’s easy even for someone who doesn’t have a natural talent for drawing. I struggle with articulating my ideas by drawing them on paper. I avoid drawing basic blocks or doodling because I have a mind block about drawing. I can see how starting with something like form drawing will help them as adults, even if it’s got nothing to do with ‘drawing and art’.


    Since I and my wife work in the areas of learning, thinking and innovation, we have very strong views on these topics. When someone we knew asked us to give an honest opinion about DLRC, we said, “If we were running DLRC, this is how we’d have loved to run it!” That really sums it up for us!

     

    B V Harish Kumar

Best Time to enter for Grade 1

    Kabir, my son is 7 years old and he is in Grade 1. Often a lot of parents wonder why we delayed his Grade 1 by a year.

    We got introduced to DLRC when Kabir was 4 years old. When we stepped on the DLRC campus, it instantly felt like a school we ourselves would have loved to attend :) 

    In May 2019, Kabir was 5 years 8 months and we reached out to the school seeking if he could start Grade 1 in June 2019 itself. In June, he would be only 3 months short of being 6 years old. While one of the co-founders thought that academically he would manage to take on the Grade 1 curriculum, he still insisted that we wait another year. We trusted the co-founder’s advice and decided to give Kabir another year to start off primary school.

    In June 2020, Kabir started Grade 1 at DLRC. He was 3 months short of turning 7 :) While we are mid-way through the year, we have had some observations not just about Kabir but some of his friends who took their time and did not rush into getting into Grade 1:

    - Primarily, we feel that as the kids cross 7, they don't crave for as much validation from their parents and hence happily find a place for themselves in a bigger outside set up. That also means that they are independent enough to be on their own at school, and to deal with things related to school.

    - At that young age, a mere 6 to 8 months more and kids evolve to be far more comfortable in their skin. Those few extra months make a lot of difference I feel. That means they naturally feel more secure and hence can focus on things at hand at school. That also makes sure that don't stress about taking up challenges related to school work, or other activities at the school. 

    - They have relatively more clarity of thought and far better articulation. That definitely helps them to think through different situations that they could get into. It also enables them to more effectively express what they are feeling or thinking. This makes sure that they can easily break any facades between them and their environment.

    Now there is no ground rule saying that a 5 and a half year or a close to 6 year old would never be able to manage what Grade 1 has to offer. Maybe some kids would entirely cruise through the year. 

    But so far our experience says that giving first grade another year, wouldn't definitely harm :) In fact, it would only benefit! But most importantly, we would have happier first graders who would love being themselves, and love to be with fellow children and facilitators around :)

    I guess it is all about just letting them be for a little longer before they get into the formal structured education system where they would be spending quite a few years :) And when you think of life, you don’t really worry about 1 year. You rather try your best to get them started off on the right note! 

     

    Suruchi Wagh 
    Mother of Kabir Gundecha (P1) & Co-Founder of Jombay


     

DLRC Community wishes Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    From the whole DLRC community 😃 Merry Christmas and a Super Happy New Year to All!

    Lets find happiness, in as many little celebrations and keep supporting ourselves, our family and friends and communities!

    This wonderful Rangoli video is made by Tejasi Waknis, DLRC Parent of Ahan Yadwad who is in grade 9 at DLRC The Learning Farm :)

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    A post shared by DLRC (@dlrc_pune)

     

A parent's happiness unfolded

    Proud to be a DLRC parent (yet again smiley)!
    Life skills training - and the importance of it cannot be stressed enough. Rolling up your sleeves, and getting your hands dirty is ingrained in the DLRC culture. 
    Amongst several other unique initiatives as a part of the online schooling, DLRC has a Farm to Table session every week. It’s a very well designed, and homely session conducted by Mona (cofounder) - and enjoys super enthusiastic participation of youngsters (by age / heart:). 
    Salads, Herbal tea, and the list goes on.

    This week, Mona conducted a session - Paneer making and Curd setting.
    My son - whose never been into cooking ever - decided to give it a try. (For the love of Paneer perhaps:)
    And guess what - from a litre of milk - simply with some curd and lemons - like a fairy god mother - Mona guided him to create his very own Paneer!
    And this noon as our family sat at the lunch table - and treated ourselves to yummy Paneer ki sabzi one young man couldn’t stop grinning :) 
    Soft, fresh and tasty paneer - and an experience he loved ! 
    What a beautiful and unique way of developing interest and teaching life skills.
    Kudos once again ! (And keep the yummy Farm to Table coming!)

    Tejasi Waknis - Yadwad


     

DLRC Teachings in Real Life

    With the lock down, all domestic help stopped - creating several jobs around the house from cooking to cleaning to laundry. While we had distributed these amongst the three of us, I had kept most of it for myself since my husband has long days of office work, and my son, Ahan had signed up for several online classes.
    Am proud to share that Ahan by himself approached me a few days ago - and very maturely told me that he noticed that I am getting very tired - so he wants to take on more. He’s been helping with the laundry, mopping, placing vessels in their place (bhandi lavane), filling drinking water for everyone. He enthusiastically told me that he had learnt mopping in DLRC - everybody takes turns in class and he loves it.
    This is a very new person. Much more matured, much more responsible and very solutions oriented.
    And I give this credit only to his school - DLRC. He wasn’t this person two years ago.
    DLRC has not only improved his skills academically but more importantly has thought him good human values. Am so proud to be a part of this family.
    Many thanks Ajay, Mona, Pavan for these values. Am obliged and am feeling very grateful.
     
    Tejasi Waknis - Yadwad

     

The ‘One of a kind’ Community Meet at DLRC

    Congratulations to Team DLRC for putting up such a wonderful show!!! It was absolutely amazing to witness such a lovely display and celebration of talent, creativity and perseverance. 

    I would like to highlight here some of the things that I loved the most. The equal participation of facilitators, parents and students made the meet a very unique one. It was a 'community' meet in the true sense; the feeling of oneness was in the air. It felt like a family meet - the kids all comfortably sitting on the mats right in front of the stage feeling totally at home. All the acts were well planned and executed. The students did a really good job and so did the facilitators. I was amazed to see that some of the plays/dances were majorly driven by the students and the outcome was so good! I'm so glad they were given the opportunity to drive the act. A big thank you to the facilitators to trust their students. The creative skills of the students were channelized so well. 

    Another highlight of the meet was the costumes, props and stage set-up. For costumes, the key idea was to make the best use of what is available and rent it only if really required. The props were all hand-made by parents, facilitators and students. The set on the stage (the temple, hut, well, etc.) was all made at the campus using available material. In one of the song performances, paint buckets were used as drums which gave a unique flavor to the song. All these little things that may not matter much to many people, but they actually made the meet so 'distinctively DLRC'. That 'Less can be More' is what the meet proved right. And the best part is that the kids were so proud of it!

    Also, I cannot fail to mention the 2-line introduction of all the facilitators given by the Founders. :) It was heartening to see the entire team on stage. It was such a proud moment! What a wonderful team it is!

    I also loved the fact that the entire program was well woven around the theme 'folklore'; right from the variety of languages used (English, Hindi, Marathi, Assamese) to the variety in the setting of the various acts; from the diverse cultures touched upon to the theme-appropriate props.

    This was our first community meet at DLRC and I must say I was really floored by the event! Kudos to the entire team. So proud of DLRC!

    Niki Dedhia


     

Matrix of Multicellular Life: How cell adhesion regulates cell function

    Recently, my daughter Avani and I had an excellent opportunity to attend a talk on the topic of "Matrix of Multi-cellular Life: How cell adhesion regulates cell function”. That sure sounds like a mouthful! Our speaker, Dr Nagaraj Balsubramanian, delivered the topic with such simplicity that it helped children understand the topic easily. Using examples from day to day life made the talk very interesting. My most favorite was comparing the cellular matrix with a bowl of maggi.

    "What is cell adhesion?" If my 9 year old was to ask me this question, I would say adhesion means ability to stick to something. This property of cells to stick together is responsible for many many important phenomenons in humans and animals and in fact all the living beings. The very formation of living being starts with a ball of cells which is formed due to cell adhesion. We are able to fight germs like bacteria and viruses because the cells stick together and eat up the germs by forming a ball around them. Different organs in our body are able to maintain their shape and structure as cellular matrix sticks together and holds everything inside. This cell adhesion and cell matrix is so important to us humans that when cells don't adhere or stick together, it can lead to various diseases like heart attack which is caused when there is atherosclerosis or in simple words the blood vessels get clogged and fail to carry blood to heart.

    Towards the end of the talk, Dr Nagraj discussed some real life implications of "What if cells didn't adhere or stick together?" It was really interesting to witness children’s imagination at work on this topic. They came up with so many conditions that could occur if cellular matrix didn’t exist. Making that connection between theory and real-life experiences is crucial if we want to see today’s young students evolving into future scientists. It was a real pleasure listening to Dr Nagaraj! We look forward to many more such experiences.

    Ashwini Ghate (a DLRC Parent)

     

    Link to the PDF file of the public talk by Dr. Nagaraj (also a DLRC Parent)