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Nurture Programme of Learning

The Inspire Assessments survey a child’s skill at the beginning, during and after the Nurture Process of Perfection in which all stakeholders get full information on a child’s starting point or baseline: the teacher, the taught and the parents. These surveys also determine a child's confidence level at each step in the perfection process, for example, which concepts or topics a child is good, moderate or limited in. Children use this information to make their personal smart study plans that serve as roadmaps to success. The Inspire Assessments are used to measure how much improvement a child has made against his / her own potential.

Progress against one's own potential is a better measure of success than accomplishment alone in relation to other children in a class. Nurture considers it more important that a child puts in his / her best always and makes the maximum possible progress than that she is discouraged by relative comparisons with peers. This process ensures that a) children understand their own strengths against goals, b) with their personal roadmaps to success that emphasize strengths, they become effective partners in their learning process, and c) every child feels empowered whether at the bottom or top of a class in a subject and begins to compete with himself / herself.

Information from the surveys is used as feedback in the in planning and delivery of lessons and in the enrichment or remedial measures that are taken for the individual child. A teacher in Nurture is gauged by the progress or improvement of his / her students.

The coursework for a year is divided into six Tiers. Teachers have approximately six weeks to complete a Tier of work and to survey at the end of each Tier how well the students have understood it before monitoring a progress test. A teacher also needs to determine if more time is necessary for the class to reach perfection before moving on to the next Tier. Tiers are connected to each other like the double helix of a DNA and they help characterize a dynamic approach to the teaching and learning process.

In conventional education, teachers rush through the coursework, then rush through revision, then after a short break, monitor a test. Then the process stops and even if there are gaps in previous understanding, they move on to the next term’s work. Instead, in Nurture, data from all tests and surveys is used as feedback to improve learning before moving on. Perfection and mastery at each step are the goals and the system ensures that the process is effective and time efficient as well. Academic results begin to improve dramatically."

NURTURE approach to learning seeks to integrate values in the very fabric of the learning process itself. Use of role plays to discuss choices and consequences develop a real sense of right and wrong. Use of drama techniques further develops the power of expression, body language and personality. Children enjoy, relate to and understand values better than direct didactic approaches we often use, for example, a moral at the end of a story that says one must be honest. If a child has not felt the ill effects of being dishonest and the benefits of honesty in real life settings, the pain and the suffering felt when others are hurt, then he is less likely to understand morals in a real sense. In Nurture, the goals are not only clearly articulated for each aspect of a child’s development, there are also measures for success, to gauge if impact is taking place as desired."
Homework is properly rationalized and given only after an assignment has been covered first verbally and fully in the class, or mostly relates to reading a book, verbal practice, research or survey. Children will not need tuition assistance at any time. Homework is also sometimes personalised and based on the needs of the individual child. It is never burdensome."
Each child is given a certain set of reachable goals according to their own personal baseline. The NURTURE personalised learning programme is designed to benefit all children, including those usually ignored in the educational process – such as the exceptionally talented or the exceptionally weak in a subject. For example, a child who scores well in a subject is given materials that challenge her at higher levels. Each child is challenged and supported at her level. Every child, therefore, gets to move forward from their starting point. Thus a fast moving child is not held back at the cost of others. Neither does she rest on her accomplishments but constantly moves forward without waiting for others to catch up. All students feel good when they are challenged and supported at their level. They feel satisfied in being able to accomplish the goals set for them. Over time, such a focus creates intrinsic motivation in every child to succeed. It empowers each child with the feeling, "I can," instead of "I can't."
NURTURE boosts a child’s self-confidence by arranging learning according to individual needs. Since effort and improvement are valued more than accomplishment, therefore, all children get a sense of accomplishment whether they are ahead of their classes or struggling with some concepts. Progress is a measure of success. It is both acknowledged and celebrated. Even a child at the bottom of a class can make progress and by emphasizing progress, we nurture the inner confidence of every child to succeed. Comparisons with others are avoided."
Children need both support and challenge. Goal setting is at the level of the child. Children are thus motivated to put in their best efforts. It creates an intrinsic desire to excel and to compete with oneself."
The focus of NURTURE is on understanding and application of concepts, and not simple memorization, except where it is necessary like children should know their tables well. John Holt in ‘How Children Fail’ wrote that “the true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do but how we behave when we don't know what to do.”

The NURTURE approach helps your child learn without the fear of examinations and exam pressures and yet do better in these examinations as learning becomes joyful. In real life too, inner motivation and confidence are necessary for success.

The system allows for ordinary children to perform better and all children to maximize their potential. No child is left behind and all children are propelled forward. "

The role of the teacher is also different in NURTURE. A teacher is like a doctor who first diagnoses and understands a child’s needs. She supports the continued growth of each and every child, reinforcing the areas of her strength and gently guiding each child in reaching new heights of success. She draws no limits to any child’s growth. She believes entirely in each child’s ability to do well in life and sees in every child a successful human being. She also reinforces the good qualities of every child and treats each child with respect as an individual. She sees the child as a partner in the learning process and believes in positive reinforcement. “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” (WB Yeats)"
The new NURTURE assessments are used for on-going diagnosis that go a step beyond continuous evaluation to provide diagnostic information every step in the learning process, for fine-tuning, perfection and goal setting."
Nurture focuses on the fundamentals and understanding of concepts in the core subjects by Class V. Many children suffer in the upper classes when they do not understand English or mathematics well and their fundamental concepts are unclear. Lack of confidence and motivation are other factors that affect performance and unfortunately, children continue in remedial classes for many years when they should graduate from these quickly and never be classified as “weak.” The NURTURE programme itself reduces the need for remedial classes and tuition. For example, there are six diagnostic tests per subject per year, instead of two, along with full diagnostic information at mid-term and end of year. Learning is seen as a continuum like the double helix of a DNA. Children know where they stand in their specific academic needs and what they need to master next.

NURTURE methods are applied all through to Class XIIth and consist of career foundation as well. By the time a child reaches the Boards and faces competitive exams, a student is more confident because she will have had extensive training in exam taking and in goal setting, time management, working with smart strategies, exam techniques, knowledge of self and training for the goal of mastery and perfection. "

The NURTURE Tierbooks are provided by the school through our publishers, the Global Classroom Private Limited. The coverage is wider as textbook cum workbooks for a year are divided into six Tiers. A larger volume of work is also covered in a year that covers the normal distribution curve of a class. Though NIS is a CBSE school, children often cover more than the ICSE level. The worksheet format means there are also more pages and exercises per subject than in regular textbooks and the tier wise breakup means it is psychologically easier for the child to do the extra work joyfully. We do not give out all the year’s work at once, therefore and children master one Tierbook at a time.

Further, all chapters begin with a teacher and parent page that has suggestions for Dramatic Presentation which the teachers are additionally trained for. For example, a hundred board and buttons are used to teach LCM, otherwise a difficult concept in mathematics. All topics are taught in a dramatic way first combining kinesthetic and visual intelligences, for example. They are taught first for understanding, then for practice and mastery with both speed and accuracy as goals. Children can do with mastery up to 100 or 150 LCM questions this way in one short period compared with when passive learning methods are employed in regular classrooms. Other accelerated methods are used that boost tremendously children’s confidence on each topic. Further, children learn to peer and self-correct their mistakes, teachers help iron out any remaining difficulties or re-teach using new methods if a concept is not well understood.

Additionally, NURTURE provides classroom materials, tactile materials, teacher / parent guidelines, all assessments and report cards throughout the year. Parents do not need to pay for them separately. To achieve the common goal of academically strong, confident and empowered children, the programme is also more effective, and parents save on tuition and other costs. "

You have tried traditional methods. As you know, some children succeed while others don't fare well in traditional systems that work on class dynamics, that emphasize marks, comparison with others, and do not focus so much on understanding as rote learning They often do not focus on every child’s confidence building through practice, mastery and self-knowledge, or do not employ on-going diagnostics and other accelerated learning method and assessments."
These are some of the new and different aspects of the Nurture programme:

• Focus on every child as special, individual student needs and personal plans as roadmaps for success of each.

• Effective and advanced methods of teaching that employ the multiple intelligences but also speed up learning.

• Tools for monitoring progress every step of the way, not just at exam time, focus on mastery and perfection.

• Peer learning, self and peer corrections, cooperative learning, leadership skills.

• Practice for speed and accuracy.

• Reports based on compete with yourself premise.

• Role plays and other methods to make morals real.

• An effective reading programme complete with class libraries and reading logs.

• Focus on spoken English, power of expression, body language, personality.

• Learning of a foreign language from the earliest years.

• Effective communication with parents, students as partners in learning.

• On-going in-service training and preparation of teachers in both the soft skills and the skills to teach well using advanced methods.

NURTURE pedagogy is in part inspired by Dr Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf Method, Dr Maria Montessori's Montessori Method, Dr Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and Dr Benjamin Bloom's Bloom Taxonomy along with C-GEMS methods of the Council for Global Education which are based on the new and more powerful ethic of 'Compete with Yourself!' Children learn in a joyful and active learning environment. Every child is respected as an individual. Theory is presented through interactive, hands-on methods and dramatic presentations, through discovery, inquiry and self-analysis.
The coursework has been divided into six Tiers. This means at any point in time a child has to carry less weight in their bags. However, the total volume of work covered by the children is more is more.
The new system lays emphasis on understanding of concepts and foundation building rather than mugging up facts which are often forgotten in time. Hence the child gets a thorough understanding of the concepts at an early stage which helps in securing a higher grade.
We provide total quality control in terms of imparting training and certification to the teachers as they engage teaching in the new methods through Council for Global Education’s “Exemplify”, Four Level Teacher Empowerment programme: Copper, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Teachers are also tested for their skill levels and supported in their personal improvement.
It is unfortunately a fact that sometimes children have to move from one city to another and the quality and consistency of education suffers. However, since their preparation is solid in Nurture, children cannot suffer academically in any rigorous school's approach to teaching. We are increasingly being present in all the major cities of India so it should in principle be possible to move to another NURTURE school in the future.
Nurture pedagogy has been developed by Dr Sunita Gandhi, daughter of the founders of City Montessori School. After completing Class X, she moved to England and graduated with a PhD in Physics from Cambridge University where she also was selected to receive three merit based scholarships. Subsequently, she moved into education development and worked for 10 years with the World Bank in Washington, DC. Dr Gandhi has travelled to and studied education systems in 35 countries around the world. She is Co-founder of the Council for Global Education, USA, and presently also serves as Chief Academic Advisor for CMS, whose academic results are known to be among the best in India, with between 21-25% of its Board exam students achieving over 90% marks. Its good results have made CMS a popular choice of parents in Lucknow, making it the world’s largest school with a Guinness World Record (since 1999). CMS is also known for its world citizenship education and received in 2002 the prestigious UNESCO Prize for Peace Education, the first and only school in the world with this distinction in the Awards’ history.
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