I would like to share with you some of my reflections on Hari Shree’s journey so far and the ideas that will shape HSV’s continued evolution. Hari Shree was started with a vision to provide a space for children to feel happy, loved and cared for while they learn. Swami Dayanda Saraswathi’s teachings, the Vedic heritage programme and especially, his concept of parent-child programme, were inspirations for the foundational concepts of the school. The intent of the parent-child programme is to make the child feel at home – to ease the transition from home to school, into a gradual and natural process.
The aim was to make Hari Shree a nurturing environment for the child’s holistic growth. We adopted learner centric teaching methodologies and worked with the children’s interest and ability to maximize their involvement in the learning process, so that they would develop a lifelong love for learning. Another objective was to incorporate cultural forms into the physical space and rituals at Hari Shree help them be rooted in our culture. At the next stage, keeping the values we started off with and having established our foundation we began to focus on what was happening around us in our country and globally. This became our motto – ‘Think Global and Act Local’.
We worked with organisations like the British Council & Tony Blair Faith Foundation that strived in the same direction we wanted to progress in. To connect our students with the world and give them a global perspective, we embraced few initiatives to bring the world into our classrooms. We are in a Global School Partnership with two schools in the UK and have received various grants from the British Council to facilitate exchange visits. Our school enjoys close associations with the Embassy of Japan, the Sri Lankan High Commission, The Indo Korean Centre, the Russian Cultural Centre, and the British High Commission. We have hosted student interns from AIESEC, the largest global youth network, and visiting students from Germany and Singapore. Guest speakers from different countries have given our students a global perspective as part of their ISA projects.
One of the proudest moments from our school’s international journey was when Prof. Howard Gardner, the world’s most influential educator and father of the Multiple Intelligence theory visited us on 25th Jan 2012. He spent an hour and a half touring the school and interacting with the children. He left us with one line that still rings in our mind “If I were to visit Chennai once again, I wish to visit Hari Shree Vidyalayam.” Hari Shree is established as a good school. We knew where our curriculum had made the difference, had given the children the added advantage. We had informed learners with a global perspective. What next?
The answer is individual empowerment to become agents of change and contribute positively to the community. Over the years, we have been a regular participant in Design for Change, which has been an inspiration to explore further. In addition to the Student council, we initiated the Interact Club to reach out to the community. Students’ organizing and social networking skills came to the fore in largely student managed events such as the MUN (model united nations) and Vizha, the inter school culturals. MFK (Madras Filter Kapi) our biannual publication and StageCraft, HSV’s own theatre group, are channels of creative expression for our students. All these ventures have one thing in common. The intent to connect with the community at large.
We have to move from charity to social impact.
Charity – is something we do on special occasions, giving to the needfulService – is a sustained engagement with society in multiple ways which creates social impact. I want to share with you the new Vision which is a gradual transition from I – we – us – ours.
I, the individual, to the WE, the peers, US the community to OURS, the planet. THE VISION IS TO Educate individuals to become compassionate, responsible global citizens and to contribute towards a sustainable planet.
With global issues that challenge the earth’s eco systems, education in the 21st century requires its citizens to be aware of the global challenges, be responsible and contribute to conservation of the resources and sustainability of the earth. If the Pacific Ocean is contaminated it is only a question of time before the contamination reaches the Indian ocean. The ozone layer is being depleted; the aqua fire of the earth, in several places, is becoming exposed due to excessive mining. It is essential to create an awareness in our children, without putting too much pressure on them, that we are all interconnected, and we need to help each other for a sustainable better world.
We strive to respect past achievements, appreciate cultures, preserve resources, serve mankind and the environment thereby creating oneness and sustainable development. A shift from mine to ours truly embraces the value ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam’ – the world is one family. We, at Hari Shree want to provide the children with life defining experiences enabling them to discover the possibility of change through courageous action, personal example and selfless leadership.
We are committed to a balanced development of the whole person – intellectual, moral, aesthetic, emotional, social, spiritual and physical. Thank you for trusting us, being with us all these years. Grow with us as we move from I – we – us – ours.
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