It’s been an eventful few months. The hills in the playground added an unimaginable layer of thrill, while our DP authorization made us a full continuum IB school, and our first ICSE group started in Grade 6. More importantly, we have the breathing space for long-term culture building beyond academics; making sports, arts and reading a rhythm of life on campus, and identity as core to growth.
First Sports – Our reprogrammed timetable, staybacks, sports fields and now a stronger team are about transforming the traditional school sports paradigm into a world-class skills-based programme, inspiring every child to fitness, as we work to establish houses and interschool leagues and seasons. Our goal is getting Neev kids to think of fitness, not as a time-table item but a way of life. Second Arts – Last year we built our choir. This year we build our Orchestra and Drama teams. Neevotsav morphs this year; Grades 4-10 move to Neevotsav spotlight spread through the year. Neevotsav-Finale in December will be for Grades 1-3 and the stayback drama teams with the orchestra and choir. The youngest children at Neev thus experience a grand show celebrating skills and performance. Grades 4-10 experience a spotlight on their skills through the year, while the stayback teams learn and perform theatre skills of direction, light & sound, music and of course performance. Third Reading – Good readers write well. The Read for Reading programme started last year, with the aim of making children truly literate across disciplines, gets stronger this year. The guided reading/novel study programmes from PYP now graduates into class wise book projects in MYP. The Neev literature festival aims to expand reading of Indian and global literature for children and catalyze a conversation on how to raise readers as a route to being lifelong learners in the changing world of work. We seek support from the parent community to nurture children to spend their time reading, being active, and being self-expressive.
This brings us back to our core obsession of Identity. Knowledge is not adequate; John Taylor’s work with us, starting this year, on raising the philosophical child is a long-term goal to make Neev children self-aware, question new information, consider the impact of actions and make personal sense of the world. Grade 7 children that came back from the first academic journey of the year in Aurangabad / Dhule are thinking of these questions. Service (CAS/SAA) programs at Neev aim to focus children on the larger world around them. A philosophical child is the thinking and giving the adult. As Picasso said -The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
The decision to defer DP by one year to 2018 despite the authorization, ready team and facilities represent our philosophy of taking the long view. We want another year of undiluted focus on PYP and MYP children to nurture the desired culture of learning and growth on campus. The DP is truly a wonderful culmination of the IB programs – it brings everything together and we dream of making it the best 2 years of the journey for our first cohort as we start admissions next month.
I want to leave you with a question – as we grow, how can we ensure that our community of children remains true to learning, and doesn’t fall prey to the complicated world of after-school tuitions/academic coaching? I’m sure many children out there wonder why they go to school if they need 2 hours after school to re-learn. I invite your thoughts and conversations on this and on what else we can do to make Neev the educational institution all of us dream of for your children.
Kavita Gupta Sabharwal, Head of School