Whole school assemblies showcase house-wise talents based on themes and Class assemblies offer opportunity for every child to participate in various activities and explore three talents. When everything seemed to be crumbling down after the nation-wide lockdown, what we held firm with Virtual assemblies is our family bonds. We want the family bonds of our students to be very strong and lasting – parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren. We exhort them to enjoy some very warm, loving, caring moments as families. We educate our children to cultivate strong family bonds and learn beautiful family values.
Balsam Enterprise day is marked to elicit the organizational skills and the vocational abilities that children have learnt in Work Education, hobby clubs and STEM sessions. Children make products and Balsam Enterprise is the platform setup to make these products available to potential buyers. The proceeds of the sale go to recognized charity organizations. Joy of giving is what children need to learn to become kind and caring individuals. In addition, children learn to manage finances from a very young age, which makes them responsible citizens.
Celebrations are unique with the motive of empowering and involving children in understanding the essence of the day. To make it meaningful, special days are marked where the entire school comes together (in person or virtual) in festive spirit with efforts in bringing the community together. The celebration days are marked as no-bag days. These days are filled with colours and joy that culture, tradition, and ethnicity brings.
We firmly believe that it is imperative for an individual to be socially, emotionally and behaviourally well-adjusted in order to function to his /her complete potential. The focus of counselling is on the preventive and promotive mental health of all stake holders involved in the development of the child. We empower individuals to develop their competencies and draw on resources to cause changes.
The Student Council and the leadership programme helps develop strong leadership skills and give student voice a genuine place in the running of the school. Members of the prestigious Student Council are drawn from Middle and Secondary level and are elected through contested elections. They receive leadership training and work to support staff and students.
Events are planned thoroughly and issues relating to school and student matters are discussed in a focused environment. Regular meetings are held throughout the term and the council report regularly to the leadership team with areas to discuss.
A budget is allocated to the Council which gives them further responsibilities for planning and organisation. The Student Council members are given the responsibility of looking after student welfare and enrichment through organising activities like Sports Day, Culture Celebrations, Assemblies, Awards Day, Evolving Minds, May Day celebration for the support staff, Balsam Enterprise, Newsletter, Community projects and many more.
Life skill education for adolescent students is crucial for developing psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills, and helps them in making informed decisions, problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication, building healthy relationships and managing their lives in a healthy and productive manner. Life skills and community projects as a formal program begin at Class V and are part of the curriculum until the student graduates from secondary school. The program is envisioned in a way where the skills required for the developmental age, are honed through activities, discussions, inviting professionals, field visits and games. Complementing these are the community projects that are meticulously planned:
The unique quality of every teacher in Balsam Academy is that of a 'counsellor not by formal training, but by experiencing'.
The teachers are 'guides and mentors', who are trustworthy, friendly and approachable.
A 'caring and careful' watch is kept over children who need more attention than others. The main aim being to:
This is achieved through a balance of firmness and gentle warmth as the teacher approaches the child as a Parent Teacher
The major aim of the outing is interactive learning, an experience that goes beyond reading about a concept. Students are able to see elements with their eyes or participate in it physically. It also gives them a chance to be in contact with nature and explore the outside world. Venturing into public places, allows the children to learn more about the world around them. They also learn to interact with others. Hence, learning in Balsam Academy is not an isolated experience but one that broadens the horizons for the students, through field trips.
The integration of work and study is the key element in Pods and Clubs. All the students are obliged to gain practical experience in the course of their academic education. The concept of Pods and Clubs is seen as an opportunity for adaptation to life in the group, forming good life long habits and cultivating a voluntaristic spirit. Club activities supplement academics and give the students practical training which they require in day to day life. In the school, various pods and club activities are organized giving an opportunity to the students to display their talent in Visual arts, Performing Arts, STEM, Subject clubs, Hobby clubs, Eco club, and Disaster Management club.
Project Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional methodology encouraging students to learn by applying knowledge and skills through an engaging experience. PBL presents opportunities for deeper learning in-context and for the development of important skills.
Students are engaged with solving real-world problems using information or skills learned in classed and taken from subject areas. Students delve into inquiry and solution building.
Students need to apply knowledge and skills. They begin by asking questions. Inquiry leads the student to think critically and inquiry process leads to the development of solutions to address the identified problem.
Students work independently with teachers providing clear rubrics, timeline and support when needed. Students are encouraged to make their own decisions.
Remedial Instruction is support extended to students with academic learning gap or mild learning disabilities. Students are provided with alternative learning strategies considering predominant intelligence (based on MI) and learning styles. Teachers create Student Case Studies to understand students’ better and hence extend appropriate and effective tools for learning. Students are engaged with exploring concepts in relation to immediate surroundings, hands-on concept-based projects, interviewing people practicing relevant occupations, art /music integrated memory tools and simplified content is considered. Flip teaching-learning method is adopted so students take initiative in learning. Teachers employ student skills in developing materials required for active learning of the whole class. Mentors are assigned to help students cope with academic rigour. Counselling support exists to address serious issues.
Tests are held at every stage and a proficiency badge /certificate is earned to move to next level.
Students capable of performing beyond classroom or grade-level requirements are identified and supported to develop skills to maximize potential within the scope of the school.
Gifted students are partnered with parent volunteers, eminent citizens, are offered internships and real-life learning opportunities. Students work with their mentors to create a vision for their growth and chart out ipsative assessments. They assume the role of a subject leader to work with their peers and juniors. School makes special arrangements for such students to participate in forums and competitions at national and international level. Parents are counselled and taken into confidence to support their children at home. Parents, school, teachers and students work together to elicit the best in the student by providing an effective and appropriate platform.
Balsam Academy endeavours to progress in all aspects relating to education. 'Story House in education’ has been incorporated to play an active part in the curriculum of the Early and Primary stage. The unique and beautiful concept of 'Story House in Education' provides every child a 'lively platform' to 'express, explore and experience' an all-important and completely new facet of their personality.