Building emotional intelligence and empathy in students and caregivers
- Prize Category: Community Collaboration
- Format: Panel discussion
- Country: India
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Filipino, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Serbian, and Spanish.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Community Collaboration category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
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About the school
Khoj – Apni Shala’s SEL-Integrated School Initiative, currently operating at a public school in Mumbai, India, uses a hybrid educational model that incorporates counselling, mindfulness and inclusion practices to help empower its students and their families. The school caters to 200 children from Grade K-4 who come from low-income families in Mumbai’s Govandi, Makhurd and Chembur areas, part of M-East ward, one of the most marginalised areas in the city. The area, largely underserved, has a low student attendance record – 46% of children between the age of 3-5 do not attend school – and an illiteracy rate of 21%.
It was through the joint efforts of the community and the faculty behind Khoj that the school was able to find a physical space and build classrooms that could provide room for young children to have an education. Central to its commitment to education is the view that when it comes to teaching a child, it cannot happen in isolation, but through a harmonious and healthy ecosystem that revolves around the child’s wellbeing. This led Khoj to develop a holistic educational model informed by Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). The process focuses on building emotional intelligence and empathy, in not just the students but ‘caregivers’ – a term Khoj prefers to use when referring to parents or guardians.
Central to this is the idea that ‘people are not the problem: the problem is the problem’. The school has taken great strides to get to the heart of issues causing distress to its students in their home life, with the understanding that the breakdown in family relationships is commonly the result of oppressive systems of poverty and exclusion. For instance, in the case of physical violence, Khoj first works towards ensuring the child’s safety and then proceeds to support the parent with mental health support and coaching in emotional management. Its students also meditate in the morning before class and if they feel overwhelmed during their lessons, they can request to leave the room so they can calm themselves and return at their own pace.
Join Khoj – an Apni Shala Foundation initiative as they discuss what led Khoj to develop a holistic educational model informed by Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).
Moderator: Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar, through his work and education, has come to believe that schools are places for an enriching socio-cultural dialogue that can empower or subvert its pupils, depending upon how the school is imagined, designed and brought into action. Rohit holds an M.A. in Education from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and a Master in Software Systems from the Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai, India. However, he thinks his most important learning comes from having worked with students and educators for over 12 years.
Currently, Rohit works as the CEO at Apni Shala Foundation (Mumbai, India) where he co-leads strategy, partnerships and advancement for the organization along with his co-directors. He also works with The National SEED Project (Wellesley, USA) as a consulting staff where he co-facilitates diversity workshops for educators.
Speaker 1: Sangeeta Zombade
Sangeeta Zombade is a certified educator in Early Childhood Care Education (E.C.C.Ed) and Experiential Education. She holds a B. Com degree and comes with more than three years of experience in teaching Kindergarteners. She has also taught elementary students in an after-school program at Akanksha Foundation for a year. She worked with Akanksha’s service-learning program for over seven years. She led the school-based service-learning program at Shindewadi Mumbai Public School. Before founding the Khoj, she led content development, trainers’ training and Alumni engagement with Antarang Foundation.