A. Some aspects of a learning environment that OELP considers as essential for facilitating meaningful learning:
a) Opportunities for building supportive and caring relationships based on acceptance; mutual respect and trust so that individual differences are honoured and all children feel included in the classroom transactions.
b) Acceptance of the children’s home languages and the worlds that these encompass through usage of home language/s in the classroom with a gradual and planned transition to the school language over a period of time.
c) Several opportunities to engage with children’s’ real life and imaginary experiences and curiosities.
d) Use of a variety of interesting and age appropriate activities which cater to different interests and levels of learners and help to make success achievable.
e) Provision of a balance between structured and open ended activities.
f) Effective classroom management techniques with a balance between whole group, small groups, paired and individual activities as well as a balance between active and quiet activities.
g) Opportunities for self regulation and learning to channelize negative emotions in acceptable ways.
h) Opportunities for learning experiences which challenge children to think.
i) A carefully designed and well planned environment which supports the efficient implementation of the daily programme.
j) Clearly defined rules and non negotiable so as to help build a sense of ownership of the class through shared responsibilities.
B. Some planned print elements within an OELP learning environment:
a) Word Wall or Shabd Diwar – with a number of activities and games for its use
b) Poem corner or Kavita ka kona – these are changed regularly
c) Children’s corner or Bachon ka kona for displaying children’s writings, drawings and other creative work
d) An interactive calendar which the children can change each day and which is used in a variety of interesting ways, so as to link the calendar with the children’s lives in active and thought provoking ways.
e) Charts such as name charts; children’s responsibility charts; project charts, which bring in a sense of belonging, and independence.
f) Written captions for displayed pictures and instructions – so that the children begin to relate to written language in natural ways.
g) A few simple displayed rules which are arrived upon through discussion and negotiations with the children and are then displayed in the classrooms. These are pointed to whenever children need to be reminded. Thus, creating an natural communication through print.
h) A book corner is set up in the classroom to provide an opportunity to the children to engage with books and make friends with them. The children are given some free time everyday to select and read any book. The teacher uses a variety of classroom practices for engaging children. Read aloud is considered important for engaging children with written texts. The children draw pictures or write their own stories based on the books they read. At times they enact the story or play word games connected with the book. Through book talk the children share the books they have read. The idea is that gradually, through such activities, the children are drawn into the worlds of books and begin to build bonds with books and read them with enjoyment.
Note: Interesting activities and games are planned for using all the above corners of the print rich classroom. These are woven into the daily programme. The displays are changed regularly, generally after a fortnight. All the above corners are set up with limited and easily available resources so that they do not require much additional expense.