The Month of November and December were full of learning and activities for both students and staff.
The Principal, Ms Fionika Sanghvi attended The Al Noor Global Summit - Frontiers of Disability Rehabilitation and Inclusion on 11th & 12th December 2021. This international two day virtual conference targets a community gathering of stakeholders, which includes people with disabilities, special educators, professionals, parents and others, to learn to network and share their knowledge, experience and expertise. Ms Fionika Sanghvi attended MFA-The Special Needs Podcast. The online webinar was mainly about Financial Planning and Security for Special Needs, which delineated the 6 essential documents needed for every special needs person. The Principal also attended the Sophia College (Arts & Science) Prize Distribution. At the 4th International Development Paediatrics’ Association Congress, SPJ Sadhana School participated in a Poster Presentation, which was titled Virtual School – the great unknown, for children with special educational needs. This was presented by Fionika Sanghvi and co-authored by Kashmira Vazifdar, Jasmine Sajnani and Priya D’souza. The Congress, held virtually, from December 2nd to 5th 2021, focussed on developments after the onslaught of Covid-19. Ms Priya D’Souza, Coordinator, Formative Years will be conducting a series of workshops to enhance the on-going digital empowerment of the entire staff. Ms D’Souza will be teaching Google apps. namely Google Drive, docs form and slides. Ms Kashmira Vazifdar, Speech and Drama teacher, held a capacity building workshop on Voice Modulation, for the staff, to enhance the delivery during lessons. As the online sessions could become tedious at times, Ms Vazifdar held the workshop to demonstrate how the voice may be used as a tool to make sessions more interesting. The teachers were rewarded with an E certificate for their efforts and participation in the voice modulation workshop. The Certificates were on the bases of an analysis made on the performance of the teachers, while telling a story in class during the Christmas Festivities. Further, Ms Kalpana Kapadia attended a Virtual Webinar held at Nehru Science Centre, to celebrate National Mathematics Day on 21st December 2021.The webinar, “come fall in love with Maths” emphasized how important it is for students to love mathematics and responsibilities and achieving this lay in the hands of the teachers.
The Hospitality and Catering Department also entertained a very welcome Guest - Ms Deshna Shah, who conducted a lesson on Chocolate making in class. Introduced by the Principal, Ms Fionika Sanghvi, Miss Shah runs a little home owned patisserie by the name of Choco Lo Citi. She makes cakes and chocolates as per orders. In her workshop she enthusiastically interacted with the students, while involving them, step by step in the intricacies of making chocolates. She drew their attention to minute details while showing them the recipes for two delightful flavours - almond rocks and chocolate crispies.
In November 2021, the students celebrated Children's Day with many different activities. In the Formative Years, the students learnt of Jawaharlal Nehru and his love for children and why his birthday is celebrated as Children's Day. In Grade I & II, the staff devised a simple treasure hunt for the little ones, while Grades III and IV concentrated on art activities such as using a bud to colour a rose, the colouring of Nehruji’s picture, and making pop-up cards. The teachers also delighted the students with a Magic Show. In the Intermediate Section, the students learnt of Shri Jawaharlal Nehruji’s deep interest in science. The students participated in elementary science experiments, such as blowing balloons with the reaction created by mixing baking soda and vinegar in an empty bottle. The Vocational classes had fun with a variety of games. In the Visual Arts & Crafts Department, the student had their memories jogged by trying to recognise people they knew or celebrities by pictures of their younger days. The students of Wood Art and Handicrafts pitted their skills against slippery ice cubes and the Hospitality and Catering Department had students and parents competing against each other. The day was certainly filled with fun for all.
The school also celebrated World Disability Day, when the uniqueness and the special abilities of our special needs students was recognised and celebrated with sweetness of ice cream. It was a surprise gift sent to the homes of each student spreading awareness of their acceptance and the message of Ubuntu - I am because You are.
As part of their IDS programme, Grade III organised the first ever Fancy Dress competition. Ms Beverly D’Souza, Behaviour Specialist/Incredible years Autism teacher and facilitator from the Ministry of Education, New Zealand, was the Chief Guest and judge for the competition. Students dressed in traditional costumes of India, New Zealand, Kenya and UAE. The attires were made entirely by the students using various items available at home. They also addressed the audience with greetings from the country they represented and said a few words about it. The event was exceptional and even more so when non-verbal students used flash cards to introduce themselves.
An Orientation was also held to welcome new students and ease them into their environment, while giving them a chance to learn how things work, and, meet the persons whom they will connect with. The students were taken around the School by Senior Staff members to acquaint them with the layout of their future alma mater.
The Christmas festivities brought a meaningful end to 2021 and were held throughout the school. The Focus of the Christmas activities was on storytelling using voice modulation as the key. Various stories were conducted in the classes. The Formative Years concentrated on the stories of the Nativity and St. Nicolas. The Intermediate School concentrated on Santa Christmas while the Senior School had stories on different Christmas themes.
Further, Formative Years planned “good deeds for the three days of Christmas” where the students were aware of Santa’s gifts, and they also learnt of the "good and naughty lists”. The teachers specified several activities such as ‘saying thank you’, ‘donate outgrown clothes’, ‘sweep and dust the house’, ‘preparing a snack for parents’, ‘helping grandparents’ and ‘participating fully in class activities’, to name a few. If the students made the ‘good list’ with the acquisition of stars awarded by teachers and parents, they were rewarded by Santa. Santa Claus was truly generous this year. At the Intermediate level too, emphasis was laid on imparting values, while the students had fun. The Christmas Maze provided knowledge and entertainment and ethics were instilled while ‘praying for the world' and helping parents and the elderly while greeting them. The students enjoyed making 3D Reindeers, Santa Masks and asking riddles and singing Carols. The ‘Snowman’ theme was adapted by almost the entire Vocational Level. The Office Procedure Course and the Visual Arts & Crafts Department created Snowmen with different apps. The Hospitality and Catering Department employed white chocolate and desiccated coconut for a chic ‘Frosty'. Another favourite was the ‘Christmas Tree’ which was crafted in many different ways in the classes, including an embroidered one. To end festivities, the students of course had music, gifts and dancing all around.
The Sports Department was involved in a plethora of activities.
11 athletes participated in the AWMH Virtual Sports Meet on 11th December 2021, from the Vocational and Intermediate levels. They won 3 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze Medals. Adithya Pillai was selected from the Intermediate level to participate in Special Olympics National Level Roller Skating event, while Vaidehi Jain and Vama Joshi from the Vocational Level were selected for the Special Olympics National Level Basketball.
Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills to learn. Speech Therapy is an extremely important part of the Therapy Section, especially as online therapy needs tremendous attention to detail. As Ms Gausiya Ansari states, “Nothing is more reinforcing than the feeling of being understood" a sentiment common to all humans alike. Ms Ansari has been reinforcing Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with very encouraging results. The Mindfulness programme has also contributed to helping students communicate effectively. Apart from creating awareness, mindful speech teaches the students to be more open and compassionate with themselves and others and helps to change the way they communicate, for the better. When awareness of one's own feelings, awareness of the circumstance and awareness of what one needs to say and how to say it combine, it can bring forth the most worthwhile outcome.
As the year ends with this Season of loving and giving, we the staff and students end with two candles lit in our hearts. The Candle of Hope – even as we bring flickers of hope and strength to our families, we promise to see ourselves in a different light, not only in terms of career, success or the plans we will make but how well we can be compassionate and learn to give back to all who make our lives so beautiful.
The Candle of Peace - it represents the peace within ourselves and those that surround us…… the time we reach out and smooth over that thing with a friend or connect with an estranged loved one or have that conversation we've been avoiding because, it's only when we tell the truth to others and to ourselves that we can find true peace.