An enlightening Nature Walk organized by Viganya Giri for a few MLZS Grade 7 students

 Most of us in Bangalore would have visited LalBagh the botanical garden in Bangalore a number of times. We have heard stories about how Tipu Sultan and his family had contributed to the garden. The Mango Festival, flower show and the long morning walks have been the highlight of any visit to Lalbagh. But have you heard about a Nature Walk that happens in LalBagh? This walk with naturalist Mr. Srinivasa or Mr, Prasad and Mr. Prasanth could leave you amazed at what this garden holds!
We tied up with “Kids For Tigers” an environmental education programme for schools across India. The programme aims to bring out the vital connection between the survival of the tiger and the ecological security of the Indian subcontinent. You can find them her
Master Bharath and Miss Ankitha of 7thgrade were selected as the representative of the school for this programme. They were invited for a nature walk of 1.5 hours. It was surprising to know that this walk could give us so much information and invoke a sense of curiosity about how the nature has evolved and adapted to the changing climate and conditions. The detailed account of this trip will also be given by Ankitha and Bharath in detail in a blogpost which will follow soon.
But now it’s time for the teachers account on the experience!
A half hour car ride took us to the botanical garden. The ride itself left me surprised, because as soon as we got into the car, both Ankitha and Bharath took their books out and started reading! Yes indeed. It ended up as a silent ride. I was not expecting the children to carry books on an excursion at all. It left me wondering when did they get so serious about learning??
Once we reached the park, all the energy that Bharath had saved by being silent, found a release. He had to run around and take a look at everything. Even the grass! And both of them were full of stories about the many time they visit the part with their family. This slow march led us to the glass house, where Ms. Usha- the coordinator was waiting for us. She took our registrations and gave each one a copy of the sanctuary cub magazine.
And their reaction upon receiving the magazine left me astounded again! Bharath was all too excited that at having got a Rs. 50 worth of book for free!!! Secretly, I guessed this was the eefect of financial education that we so painstakingly instill in our children.
The next surprise came in when we were put into 2 different groups. I decided to accompany Ankitha as I did not want to leave a female child alone. But before I could go and to talk with Ms. Usha to take care of Bharth, Ankitha stopped me and said, “Maám, why don’t you join Bharath’s team , he keeps running around” though initially confused, later I was really proud of Ankitha for being so responsible and tone did have “ I will take care maam” approach.
Thus began our Nature Walk. There were at least 1000 little words about each tree, leaf, flower, bird, butterfly that came our way. The information delivered was to the point and Mr. Prashanth did stop giving information at the just the right places which left a lot of questions in the student’s mind. Proof- on the way back, Bharath did say “maám, I have a lot of questions to ask sir. May be I can browse and find out”. We did decide on the return ride that we would contact them through mail with all our curious questions.
Bharath and Ankitha would be giving a full account of the detailed noted that they had taken, because I was busy taking photographs and watching out for Bharath and Ankitha.
But for now keep pondering on the below questions…
Where do weep willow trees grow and why?
How do the bees communicate and why?
What does Lichen Indicate?
How has nature designed leaves to protect themselves from rain
What is the difference between seeing and observing?

My Pet A poem by Shruti from 5th Grade

Children are always surprising us with their genius and attention to detail. Sometimes it is not apparent from the way a child behaves or interacts.
But when you give your child an outlet to express his/her inner thoughts, values and expressions, you will be surprised by how they maze you.
Shruti from Grade 5 amazed us by her ability to use create a poem around her pet cat and use words that rhyme simultaneously.  
My pet
I have a pet cat,
which likes to hide in my hat,
and loves sitting on the mat.
Always willing to come inside,
but never willing to go back outside.
For it's actions you must clap,
and always likes to sit on my lap.
How fast it laps the milk,
with me touching its fur as soft as silk.
Oh, my pet & I love you so!

Keeping Your Child Healthy This Monsoon

Monsoon is the time when diseases spread due to humid and damp conditions. Fungus and bacteria multiply during this weather and are easily picked up by children. Monsoon reduces immunity of one’s body and makes them susceptible to many diseases. Health irritants like allergies, infection and indigestion are very common during these days too.
It is a good time to take precautions and follow a few simple tips to become disease resistant.

  1. Moderation is the key: Eat in moderation and let your stomach relax. 
  2. Drink lots of warm beverages. They help in keeping the protective layer on the inside of your throat active and intact.
  3. Stick to freshly cooked foods. Bacteria get more time to multiply in stale food.
  4. Wash fruits and vegetable thoroughly and eat only freshly cut fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid raw vegetables in these days.
  5. Avoid eating street foods like chaats, fried items and pakoras.
  6. Avoid green leafy vegetables during this season as they have insect infestation in humid conditions.
  7. Consume vegetables like snake gourd, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, yam, beans. They help to naturally flush out disease causing bacteria.
  8. Avoid Instant and canned foods, they offer little or zero nutrition.
  9. Use Moong Dal, Garlic, pepper, ginger,Asfoedita(hing), cumin  powder, turmeric, and corianderwhich enhance digestion.
  10. Drink boiled and filtered water
  11. Foods like Neem, Bitter gourd (Karela), Tulsi, Jamun, corn and warm milk are good for health
  12. Eat balanced diet. And include lots of lemon in your diet. Vitamin C helps fight common cold and flu effectively.
If anyone you know is ill during monsoon take some more precautions for a speedy recovery
  • Water: take only boiled water.
  • Detoxification: take warm water with honey
  • Cough: consume warm water with 1 pinch of black pepper and rock salt helps to get rid of cough due to weather conditions.
  • Viral: warm milk with 1 pinch of ginger powder , black pepper and turmeric is good in viral.
  • Cold: tulsi leaves , honey and ginger powder mixed together prevents cold.
  • Immunity: consume foods rich in vitamin C like orange , sweet lime , amla ( gooseberries)
Above all, keep in mind that washing hands before every meal is as important as following the above steps. Also if you suspect that your child is coming down with a cold or flu, it is best to let him rest at home. Their small bodies are fighting the infections internally and need to conserve every bit of energy when unwell.

A head full of fear has no room for dreams...

This very though popped in my mind when my daughter came to me asking for a thought for the day. I did explain to her about fear and dreams and also added how she should approach it without fear. She looked at me confused. 
With parents and teachers constantly creating awareness about safety and security with videos and talks, it is easy to confuse a child.
I could read her googly mind through her confused look. A set of how’s and whys started circling around in my head.
As a mother, I worry a lot about her safety and security. I started questioning myself how should I instil the courage in my daughter to face the real world where only selfish and cowards rule.   I taught my daughter a password to protect herself from possible stranger danger. I also taught her that when an animal comes chasing to hurt, all we need to do is to stand still to protect ourselves. 
Now we have all possible safety measures to protect ourselves from danger caused by animals. But we do not have any fool-proof safety measures to protect us against humans!
I could tell her that when a human comes to hurt, she should scream for help. But can it help to take out the fear of such criminals? How can I ask her to dream? As a human being, as a mom, I felt helpless.
Though the new world of dreams blooms at childhood, I fear that the words child, children, childhood, child play and innocence could get deleted from the dictionary one day if we are not careful with our children and their safety.
I do believe that I have chosen a noble profession of being a teacher to children. And in that lies my pride because as a 2nd mother to the children, every teacher in her mind owns the child’s growth as if of their own. How can a teacher inspire and instil the passion to dream when she lives in fear?
The human in me fears the security of future generation. All I can do for them is hold placards, go on a rally and get the chairman of an institution arrested for his irresponsibility.  Is that all I can do? 
When I plunge into these thoughts, the world’s bravest man’s words help me - “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” While saying this, Nelson Mandela’s visionary mind would have thought about the future of his children and he might had an answer for my questions.

But for now, all we can do is to teach our children to stay safe and follow rules as taught by their parents and teachers.

Grade 1 Activity of the Week – Know Your Name

Vasudha and Betty, class teachers of Grade 1, executed this unique activity for their class to learn about their own name and that of their friends. In keeping with the vision of Mount Litera Zee Schools, they thought the best way to introduce the first concept of EVS “My Name” should be through an activity rather than an instruction method.
The Activity:
The teachers first talked to the children about how each one of us have a name and where we use our names every day. The teacher also explained how each one of us is unique like our names.
Later, the teachers got out some modeling clay and let the children choose their favourite color. The students were then asked to prepare letters of their names using the clay. They proudly displayed their names on the table. They were also let to observe their friends’ names and were encouraged to appreciate each other’s efforts.
The activity of modeling clay that was conducted enabled the students to appreciate their names and at the same time have lots of fun doing it!
This method of teaching concepts is found to be more effective than a simple instruction method. This way, the children created memories in their head, owing to the fun activity of modeling clay. Memories play a very important role when it comes to recalling any particular concept, right into adulthood.

How to get the most out of Grocery Shopping with Children

Grocery Shopping can actually be an enjoyable experience for you and your children if you keep a few things in mind before planning a trip to the supermarket.
Also, it is a great way for you to introduce your older child to the concept of money and practice his calculation. For younger kids, it’s just fun to be out and about!
·         Take a walk- avoid using the automobile, it is good for health and gives you time to talk with your child.
·         Carry shopping bags and make sure you take a smaller one along for your child. Your child will be proud to carry one along and you are saving environment from plastic and yourself some money
·         Before you start, affirm to the child that he /she can buy only one item of his choice.
·         If the child is old enough give him/her a budget. This not only saves you from a cribby child, but also teaches the child to choose the best option and also manage his money.
·         If your child is old enough, send the child by himself to buy one or two items, which will teach them some independence. Always ask the child to calculate the difference in the amount to be paid and actual amount paid.  This is the best way to teach math for real life.
·         Also take the child to the mall and to the local market, and make him aware of the difference in the prices and explain to the reason behind this disparity. Children pick up very early about such concepts if we introduce it to them.
·         While shopping for vegetables and fruit, ask your child to choose. This will help the child to look for size, measurement and also weight. What’s more, he/she will know what is cooking for dinner!
·         Help the child to prepare a shopping list before starting. This helps the child to know the ingredients of a favourite dish and the quantity that has to be used. While shopping, if an item on the list is not available, teach him the alternatives that could be used. Choices - a big life lesson that the child will learn and give him/her a sense of ownership 
·         Talk about seasonality of fruits and vegetables and how they could be used and the difference in the prices of seasonal and non- seasonal fruits.
·         While buying packed foods, ask the child to read the ingredients, MRP and nutritional facts, preservatives, etc on the back of the packet. This will help practice reading skills and also give them a little knowledge about the ingredients used. 
·         Teach them about expiry dates and how mindful they should be about these.
Grocery shopping with children is usually looked at as a torturous activity. Preparing the child and engaging him in the activity of shopping teaches them ownership, financial responsibility and reasoning.  
It will turn out to be one of the best opportunity for you to teach the child real life problems and their solutions.
Good Luck Moms!

Sharing of knowledge leads to immortality - Pratima, Co-ordinator at MLZS_HSR

“A teacher who establishes rapport with the students, Becomes one with them, learns more from them than he teaches them.”  - Mahatma Gandhi.
I remember once Vasa Sir shared that there was language which was only spoken by a particular community, but they were not generous enough to share their language with others, as a result of which their language perished with them.
Sharing knowledge has helped mankind to survive and evolve into the intelligent and productive species we are today.  But why do people don’t believe in sharing nowadays?
There could be many reasons for not doing so, we are often too slow to recognize how much and in what ways we can assist each other through sharing expertise and knowledge. Sometimes our pride acts as a hindrance for not seeking advice from others and also from discovering new and better ways of doing things. Sometimes lack of trust and time comes in the way of sharing knowledge. Factors such as individualism, inadequate technology, top down decision making etc. can also cause people to refrain from sharing their knowledge.
In many languages the verb “to know” has two first person forms:”I know” and “we know”. “I know “refers to the possession of knowledge by an individual whereas “we know” refers to knowledge that belongs to a group (shared knowledge). Shared knowledge is systematic in its nature and the product of more than one individual.
It changes and evolves over time because of its continued application; on the other hand personal knowledge depends crucially on the experience of a particular individual. We all have witnessed many successful projects and targets and celebrated and congratulated our peers for that, but how many of us took time to share or learn the knowledge our peers gained?
Perhaps, it is time now to learn and to share our best practices with each other, because knowledge is most useful when liberated and shared.  Unless you try to do or learn something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
It has been observed that exchange of ideas with colleagues/peers often result in improvisation which may not have been part of the earlier plan. It is always useful to invite suggestions from  different people who can contribute with their own perspective and experiences which in turn enhances results. I would like to conclude with the following quote-
“Sharing will enrich everyone with more knowledge”.
By Pratima- Co-ordinator MLZS_HSR

Checklist for First Day of School

With school reopening next week. We are sure you are busy preparing yourself and your child for the first day of school. So we decided to come up with a generic list applicable to all parents that will help you along the way.

  • Check if your child’s registration papers are in order. Make a folder and keep all school related paperwork here.

  • Make sure you note the time the school starts and co-ordinate with the transport for the same

  • Note down your child’s class teacher’s name in case you need it. Make your child memorize his/her teacher’s name

  • Ask about the first day’s schedule in advance. Most schools follow a different routine on the first day

  • What time does the school break for lunch and snack? Pack the tiffin accordingly

  • For young children, ask if you need to pack an additional set of clothes too

  • What kind of stationary is required on the first day?

  • Make sure you fill up the diary with all health related information along with emergency contact details for your child

  • If your child needs medication, inform the class teacher in advance about it and remember to pack all necessary medicines along with written instructions for the teacher

  • Know about the drop schedule in advance and be there on time to receive your child

And lastly, talk to your child about the first day of school in a very light and positive manner before the school reopens. With all the above points in place, we are very sure that the first day of school will be a breeze for you and your little one!

Parent Teacher Communication – How to get the most of a meeting

Research shows that children do better in school when parents get involved in what is going on in the school and communicate frequently with the teachers. We, at MLZS welcome all parents to communicate with the teachers, especially earlier in the academic year to help our teachers understand your child and his developmental needs.

Here’s a quick list of points that will help you to make a parent teacher meeting fruitful for your child and the teacher.

·         Keep the appointment of every Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM): MLZS regularly organizes parent teacher meetings. Make sure you never miss these. This is a great time to for you to discuss your child’s problems with the teacher. It also helps when you share your home environment with the teacher so that she is better equipped to understand where the child is coming from.

·         Keep your agenda ready: when you arrive for the PTM, make sure you have jotted down your questions and observations that you wish to discuss with the teacher. If possible, take notes about what the teacher has to offer.

·         Be positive and courteous: Teachers are a dedicated lot. All MLZS teachers are extremely dedicated and work really hard. Even during vacations! So have a positive outlook when interacting with the teachers. If you have some issues or problems, try using kind words like “Please, could you..." and "Thank you for all you did," instead of “"You should have..." or "You must be mistaken."

·         Accept differences: Sometimes you may really “click” with a teacher and other times it may seem a struggle to keep the lines of communication open. Listen to the teacher to get a sense of who she or he is. Hear what the teacher has to say about his or her expectations, classroom, and your student. Don't argue with or criticize the teacher in front of your child.
Be our partner: Thirty years of research shows that children do better in school when their parents are involved. Some of the most important things you can do are to: 
  • Help with homework as needed and appropriate. 
  • Help your child learn the skills needed to manage time and stay on task. 
  • Ask teachers for clarification on instructions and assignments as needed. 
  • Talk about school matters with your student at home. 
  • Ask teachers what you can do to help your child at home.

And finally, be open to the teacher’s suggestions. Sometimes, they are able to point out the correct way forward as a third party. Believe in us, because we will safeguard your children and lead them towards being 21stcentury leaders. That is, and always be our priority.

Importance of Co-curricular Activities in Education System

Can children learn everything from a class room? Are classrooms able to simulate real life situations so children learn from them? Sadly the answer is no. Class room education needs to be supplemented with Co- Curricular Activities or CCA.  These co-curricular activities are organized to propel students’ emotional, social and moral development which otherwise are limited in a classroom setting to group work.
Mount Litera Zee School has diversified into various domains to enrich the student learning and student engagement. Domains like sports activities, NCC, field trips are some of the co-curricular activities (CCA) which are emphasized to complement and supplement the academic curriculum taught in the classrooms.  
Importance of Co-curricular Activities for school children:
*Develops values of cooperation, sense of belonging, respect others views and feelings, collaborate for team work.
*It motivates learning as opportunities for out of the box thinking are encouraged.
*Enables to express their thoughts and opinions without the fear of being graded.
*Enhances their psychological, civic, ethical and social understanding.
*Inculcates skills like decision making, self-esteem, leadership abilities and organization.
*Facilitates identifying child’s abilities and potential and showcase their talents like singing, speaking, drawing, dramatic skills.
*Provides child to introspect their actions and thoughts to develop required socialization and emotional balance.
*Appreciate and encourage peer learning.
Aruna Sridharan, our Academic Consultant for Pre-Primary section of all MLZS schools has a vast amount of experience in this field. What she has routinely observed in children when they are outside the classroom will astonish you.
·         Promoting awareness: Co curricular activities promote interests and awareness in an existing topic
·         Interlinking with classroom education: Children have an amazing ability to interlink co curricular activities with text book education. You will be surprised at how quick they are to find cross references and links.
·         Personality development: The true personality of every child emerges when he is taken out of the classroom.
·        Sense of ownership: Belonging to a club increases a sense of ownership and brotherhood among the members of that particular group. Young minds are then encouraged to dig deeper in the given field and gain specialized knowledge
·         And finally, having fun is good for the brain! Co-curricular activities and clubs are a great way for children to have fun and learn at the same time. Something, that can never be replaced by classroom education.