Since the whole world together had to witness a major crisis situation such as the COVID-19, educational institutes, especially K12 schools got to explore a window of opportunities to usher transformational changes in their respective schooling systems. COVID-19 also helped to reinforce the truth that the role of a ‘teacher’ is crucial for the system to succeed, while embracing technology and using strategies to help children become independent learners, with teachers graduating to the role of facilitators rather than instruction givers. Thus, emphasizing on one such educational haven who has been driving on innovation since its inception, and thriving as an entity which believes thoroughly in redesigning and developing a new curriculum, combining classroom-based and online learning to provide a continuum of learning – Spring Mount Public School, comes as welcome ray of hope, during these unprecedented times.
Creating an Atmosphere of Global Competitiveness
Committed towards providing a highly personalized learning system for all its students, Spring Mount Public School was founded in Tirupur city of Tamil Nadu, with a clear objective of providing high quality education, blending Indian values and international standards. Spread over lush green, pollution free area of 10 acres it is a composite day cum boarding school which includes Montessori, Primary, Middle Secondary & Higher Secondary wings. With a total capacity to educate approximately 2500 students, the school is affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education, the foremost examining body of the country.
A complete resource-efficient hub, concepts play an important role at Spring Mount, rather than just classroom teaching/learning. As a result, if some children require special attention, time or additional instructions in their mother tongue, the onboard teachers are always ready to help. Even parents are coached by the teachers in these sessions which are conducted after the school hours and are asked to sit with their child for one on one attention, keeping all the stakeholders of the school entwined towards combined children/school development.
Preparing every student for tomorrow
Adapting to all of the latest of ICT-enabled systems and infrastructure meant towards facilitating easy learning curves for the students, despite the situations outside, Spring Mount is known for its flipped classroom, which is basically a type of blended learning system, where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school. This is the reverse of the more common practice of introducing new content at school, then assigning homework and projects to complete by the students independently at home. From Primary to Higher Secondary level the School has Flipped classroom approach to the fullest of the availability.
Experiential learning plays a vital role in Spring Mount’s curriculum. From Kindergarten to Higher Secondary level, learning activities, both inside and outside the classroom are designed to actively engage students to learn by doing, and then reflecting on the process and experience and actively creating their own understanding. Also, by dividing students across all classes into varied groups, categorized based on their performances, different teachers are assigned in charge of various groups. The parent teacher is solely responsible for the academic success of the group he/she is leading, and a record book is maintained periodically for tracking academic scores and extracurricular activities. It is the teacher’s duty to empower the good and average learners to achieve higher grades and to motivate and guide the slow learners to do their best in the examinations. The Parent Teacher will also act as the bridge between the School and the child’s parents in communicating the academic growth of the child.
Not just in-house learning opportunities, students at Spring Mount also are taken regularly on Educational Outings, providing an important expansion of classroom learning by allowing children to experience new settings and environments. Through field trip experiences children can apply the skills of an investigator or environmentalist, or explore the field as an historian or geographer. “Our field trip outings are for all Students of the School, where the field trips include nature preserves, local museums, recycling center, Botanical gardens, Historic Sites, Zoo and so on”, stated – Dr. Nalini Prabhu Shanker, the Founder & Managing Trustee of the School, who also operates as the go-to correspondent.
Taking us and our readers on a virtual/verbal tour of Spring Mount, Dr. Nalini gave us real insights into how the school functions, creating unique individuals with unique capabilities. Continuing on her above point, and throwing light on how Spring Mount is beyond regular schooling, Dr. Nalini shared – “A wide range of enrichment programmes are blended in the Spring Mount Pedagogy which gives children new opportunities for hands-on learning, and lets them develop a more holistic worldview”. Through the detailed conversation with her, we also learnt that all the students at the school are motivated to take part in Community Outreach Activities, which usually involve social planning, support to community residents through their Community Outreach Club, which through its combined efforts from both their staff and students, have been successful in volunteering in several occasions through various NGOs , Charity and Non Profit Organizations in Tirupur City. Additionally, there’s also a Mindfulness / Yoga based Professional Development Program at Spring Mount, that prepares the students physically and mentally for the integration of their physical, mental and spiritual faculties so that the students can become healthier, saner and more integrated members of the society and of the nation.
Being fortunate enough to be blessed with the largest infrastructure in Tirupur with a sylvan ambience, the lush green serene environment has surely aided the mindfulness of students and is like an added point to the already existing stress free environment. Speaking about the IT infrastructure, Dr. Nalini stated – “Our school is having its own cloud based ERP software termed ‘Spryngle’, which helps us take care of all our operations, be it the student admission management, fee payment, circulars & communications to academics, acting as the nucleus and face of IT infrastructure of the school”.
The impressive setup also helped Spring Mount cope with the hurdles which came along with the pandemic, and pushed students to continue on their path of uninterrupted learning and growth opportunities. By increasing the use of online tools and technology to enhance the learning experience by creating customized G-suite accounts for each student and opening the platform of school made ERP applications for students. The change in the methodology of teaching also forced the educators to upgrade their learning curve and accept that technology will complement classroom learning, and Spring Mount Public School was no exception in this endeavor.
Apart from the ICT-setup, the school also is home to a vast campus filled with amenities and facilities, catering to one and all. Consisting of hostels, which the correspondent calls (it) – a “Home away from Home”, abundantly provides the homely ambience that its inmates long for. Separate hostels for boys and girls, where each hostel has spacious and semi furnished rooms well equipped with Air conditioners or Air Coolers with adequate facilities for water purifiers and water coolers. Besides offering a safe and serene atmosphere for studies, students have ample access to indoor and outdoor sports facilities.
Striving today, for tomorrow and beyond
Basing the whole student assessment, evaluation and future initiatives on the New Education Policy 2020, a thorough competency-based assessment is ensured at SMPS, where all the activities and assignments will be designed to bring out the learning outcomes as per the concept and the development of 21st century skills. The focus will and always be on improving the foundational literacy and numeracy skills.
SMPS is also a hotspot of skill development, as the school aims to empower the students with exposure to different stages of training and education in addition to their curricular academic pursuits. Also, through the Spring Mount Innovation Lab for Exposure (SMILE), utilizing experiential learning, the school preaches ‘hands on learning’ and ‘learning by doing’ guiding all the learners to be independent, self-directed and reflective in all tasks that they undertake. Lastly, summing up the whole conversation, and stating a point on the SMILE initiative, Dr. Nalini quoted – “Our idea of launching the SMILE initiative for its learners was to implement the ‘experiential learning’ in practice and in spirit, irrespective of their individual learning styles, carrying forward ‘learning beyond their classrooms at school into their adulthood’ and building on practices that are beneficial to the community at large”.
Dr. Nalini Prabhu Shanker – Founder & Managing Trustee