The month of October has come to an end and with it the first term of virtual education in SPJ Sadhana School. The experience has been a resounding success for all stakeholders – students, parents and faculty and a tremendous learning stratagem, where empirical analysis has borne out the 'new normal' as a profile contender on the future scenario. Another event for celebration – SPJ Sadhana School is ranked India's 4th, Maharashtra 2nd & Mumbai's 2nd Special Needs School in the Education World India School Rankings 2020-21.

'Open Days' conducted online through the last week, heralded the trend of things to come. The parents, entertaining for the first time, the faculty in full strength were awed and elated by the change of scene and the opportunity to address all teachers simultaneously. Their daily communication with the staff progressed to a general bonhomie, where both exchanged ideas on the school programme and the parents expressed their deep appreciation of the faculty's untiring efforts. A much appreciated feature was the Term Report with its detailed assessment of the student, which left most parents 'stunned'. 'Open Days' had certainly moved into a new and emphatic direction.

In spite of the complexities of assessment online, the school after graphic evaluation gave admission to three students, who, the staff felt, could be schooled on this platform. The Intermediate school coordinator, Ms. Tejal Kothari represented SPJ Sadhana School as a VSP site volunteer for IASE and shared information about school activities during the pandemic, and about the website, which had regular updates. The members of the IASE appreciated the work undertaken at school and the endeavour to meaningfully engage SEN students through a schedule inclusive of academics, play and therapy. Ms. Kothari also shared the school video, made during the pandemic, which had a definite impact on the IASE members.

Ms. Gausiya Ansari attended a workshop conducted by Indian Sign Language (ISL) professionals, who demonstrated signs specifically designed to help non-verbal students in communication. The signs are simple and lucid enough for universal comprehension. Ms. Ansari intends to improve non-verbal interaction with such students using iconic signs for better communication.

The first term also saw the administrative assistance rise to formidable heights, to smoothen the flow of virtual training and the teachers and assistants have been able to work in close association, for which the former have expressed deep appreciation.

New significant inclusions in the curriculum earmarked, are the recreational activities which have made creditable impact to sustain interest and secure results on the virtual platform. These are now an essential component of the programme.

Another noteworthy addition is 'Kahoot' the game-based learning platform, which has been effectively adapted to train and assess the student profitably. SPJ Sadhana has incessantly worked to upgrade its programme to create novelty and keep the students engaged through a light-hearted yet meaningful environment.

The Formative Years concentrated on the Navratri and Dussehra festival. Grade I, II, III and IV learnt of the history behind Navratri and Dussehra and the preparations for the festival. The activities included decoration of the 'garbo', 'dandiya' and 'Ravana' while gradually assimilating the ideas of 'good' and 'evil' and their moral outcomes. Values of love, gratitude and appreciation were also reinforced as Grade II celebrated a day of assembly with grandmothers.

Grade IV bid a virtual farewell for their colleague Shreshth, who was promoted to the Skills Enhancement class. The students learnt the worth of a meaningful goodbye, wishing him luck in a word or sentences while teachers played a video of all the good memories. Grade IV also indulged in virtual IIP when 'suitably' dressed; they had a virtual tour of the important monuments of the world.

At the Intermediate Level, the Prevocational and Skills Enhancement classes used their Art and Craft Skills to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti, construct a Ravana puppet and make varied gift wrappings as a tribute to the season of Navratri. They also enhanced their culinary skills with Fruit Salad, Aloo Chat and Cold Coffee while learning the advantages of a healthy diet. They also studied the history and culture of our country through the Dussehra festival. The activities were aimed at providing academic, social and motor skills to progress into the vocational courses.

This month the students of the Vocational Departments prepared for the first virtual exams with follow-ups and revision. Exams and assessments progressed smoothly with the students adjusting well to the new mode.

The students also followed the individual departmental curriculum increasing their skills based activities whether in handling culinary inputs, art or handicrafts.

2 students of the Visual Arts and Crafts Department, Hiya Jain and Khushi Solanki attended and actively participated in a virtual workshop on story-telling – “Suno ek Kahaani, Hum Sab Ki Zubaani.” This was organized by the JBCN School on 20th October 2020.