<%-- Page Title--%> Venture <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 157 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 4, 2004

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An Unconventional Approach to School

Imran H. Khan

Auronee Viddalaya is a day-care cum school where children learn under a totally different sun. Auronees mean the sun and it opened its doors to children on January 19 last year. Located at House 60A, Road 7A, Dhanmondi, Auronee is a place where the children are seeing and experiencing first hand that school is not simply a place where 'knowledge' is force-fed to you but a place where you come to enjoy yourself through learning. Here, class-work is not forced upon the students. They are simply given a guideline of the subjects that need to be focused on and the workload is divided to cover the basics such as Bangla, English, Maths and Art. They finish their work at their own convenience and the teachers, who are quick to befriend them, are always present to help the students out whenever they can.

The school is different because it dares to divert from the conventional learning methods and has taken a different view of education; one that is fun and entertaining for the pupils, in the meantime both challenging and academic. Here, learning is not just through the books but also through games. Lessons are not simply numbers and letters but are combined with drawing and practical experiences that always keep the students on their toes. Like they say 'seeing is believing,' the students are taken outside the school on field trips so that they can learn about reality on a practical basis, not simply from textbooks. This way, they can easily relate to what they have learnt and Ismat Sultana, the Principal of this institution feels that there are a number of ways of tackling a problem. "The problems are always solved in a variety of ways at Auronee such that the child can grasp whichever method he or she finds easy," says Sultana. Probably the best thing about this school is that there is no pressure of lingering homework for the children to take home. All the work is done in the classrooms and teachers mix the right amount of workload and fun to bring about a harmony between them such that the students do not lose interest in studies nor fall behind. The textbooks that are followed comprise both Auronee's own textbooks along with the standard government curriculum.

Students enrolled here usually are from three and above. This is a crucial period because it is during this time that we start to understand the things around us. Our logical, visual and vocal intellect start to develop around this time and it is imminent that they are appropriately developed such that the child may grow up to become an intelligent and understanding (in every aspect of the word) human being.

One of the modern norms here amongst schools is to use names of well-established institutes. "Here at Auronee, the importance of Bangla in our lives is given equal importance compared to English" says Sultana. "We want our students to be fluent in English, but we don't want them to lose their national identity in the process." Auronee has accommodation for classes 1 and 2 but as the years pass, they are hoping to expand their classes and take it all the way up to class 10.



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