Friday, August 31, 2018

Jivika learns to blend!

What happens when 5-year-old Jivika encounters a bunch of English words for the very first time? Well, of course she nails them all using phonics, like a little champ that she is!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Smile Foundation

(Left: A visit by Mr Mukesh George, Smile Foundation, on 17th July 2018)

After some correspondence and initial "due diligence", SMTA and Smile Foundation have signed a contract, under which both will collaborate and raise 50:50 funds for the SMTA primary school at Jakhdhar. This school catering to 35 tribal children in remote mountain belt is very close to our hearts, for reasons which have been discussed frankly by the teachers, in this youtube video. Smta started a crowdfunding initiative too, in June 2018.

Smile Foundation is working with grassroots initiatives for effecting positive changes in the lives of underprivileged children, their families and communities since 2002. It believes that that education is both the means as well as the end to a better life. Since Child education can be pursued in isolation, Smile Foundation extended its thematic areas of intervention by supporting family health, livelihood, and women empowerment. It works through CBOs, as implementing partners, with focus on scalability and sustainability. It is working on 200+ projects in 950 villages in 25 states of India.

Here is their blog, youtube page, facebook, website. We look forward to a very meaningful partnership where everyone learns from the community and contributes to it. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Learn and Teach

13 - 23 October 2018
Smta and Tisa collaborated first time, during Tisa's first communication workshop in 2010 (left, pic). Ever since, the two organisations have been in touch. SMTA would like to offer a special program of learning communication, hands on in our Primary school (school blog). Learn from children and teach them as well!

Tisa members are invited to our school at Jakhadhar, near Chakrata, for a nine day stay, to teach children any skill they are good at: music, Yoga, sports, computers, crafts, Spoken English, story writing or just "sums" and tables. This place is ideal for meditation and nature walks - which will be organised by SMTA.

Dr Sachin (Director, SMTA) will be available to enrich and guide this experience. At the end, a short one day trek will be considered. There is no fee for this residential workshop except a nominal charge for board and lodging, to be paid to SMTA.

If you are interested, register here soon please:

Sunday, August 26, 2018

                    26/082018. RWP   Banpur Jhitar Planting Fodder Plants.....

                             The Villagers  Planting Fodder Plants....

                              Fodder Plants Distribution Veriety- Harad ,Baheda,                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ,                     Shemal, Dekran,  Shirish, Jammun, Reetha, Aavala.etc.  . 

                                Fodder Plants Distribution

              Fodder Plants For R.W.P.Project-Banpur Jhitar Gram Panchayat(Tiuni)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Blending Sounds

Children of classes 3, 4 and 5 taking their first baby steps in the world of phonics. A long, adventurous way to go!

 Here Sonia is seen blending sounds of letters into words, in simple CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) format. Go Sonia!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

राष्ट्रीय कृमि मुक्ति दिवस

अपना स्कूल समता निकेतन जाखाधार चकराता जिला देहरादून में कृमि मुक्त दिवस के अवसर पर सभी बच्चों को एल्वेन्डाजोल दवाई खिलाई गई |

Monday, August 20, 2018


Children of classes 1 & 2 learning the sounds of the alphabet, in other words using phonics, to learn reading and spelling in English language.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

What is Education?

Today we had our morning assembly up on the terrace for a change. For those who live in the mountains, there is a danger of getting habituated to, taking for granted and hence growing unappreciative of or even forgetting, the immense goodness of fresh and cool mountain breeze. So we all sat still and silent for a few minutes, listening to chirruping birds, the rumbling stream and feeling the cool breeze brush against the skin. Then after all the morning assembly rituals, we had a brief discussion on the meaning of education. Many children seemed to be bemused by this question, perhaps because of its strangeness? It is strange that this fundamental question should seem strange. Even as grown up adults reading this, how many of us have actually pursued and stayed with this question with utmost seriousness?

We then watched a Hindi movie called Gattu, a touching story of a 9 year old orphan boy, who has never been to school. A series of unlikely, and at times hilarious events, he finds himself on a journey of real learning, culminating in him getting enrolled at a school. 


Finally, during the second half of the day, the children of classes 3, 4 and 5 were asked to write a short essay on the topic “Why do I need education?” They were told that it was not an exam, there would be no marks or grades given, and that they were free to express themselves as freely as they wanted to. Some children did take this invitation seriously and laid bare their heartfelt reasons. 
Some seemed to suggest that they preferred school to their homes- a heart-breaking declaration in some ways, perhaps reflective of the less than wholesome situations they come from.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Independence day 2018

Celebration videos (Street March, The function)

Our students offered a colorful program in the school. Smta staff, teachers, parents and local citizens participated. Education committee members cooked nice halwa and served it to children and visitors. Mahabal ji contributed fresh cucumbers to the offerings. Cyril ji sent some salties for the children.
After the celebrations, smta team sat together for an informal meeting, where in we discussed how we can work better as a team and the upcoming events.
Weather remained open and pleasant, with God's grace. And yes, early morning, our students took out a rally to the local market...

Saturday, August 11, 2018


10th August 2018: There has been heavy rains and a major power fault. There was no power supply for about 36 hours. When it was finally restored, we quickly used the opportunity to screen a movie (Lassie, 2005) for the children, who were, otherwise busy with preparations for upcoming Independence Day celebrations.

The plot was explained beforehand - with necessary brief explanations in between. The purpose was to expose children to a different culture, a different spoken language and the excellent acting by a child- and other artists like Peter Dinklage ("the midget"). The story is set around the first world war and is based on an older novel of the same name (link). It is based on the love between a collie and a child. After the movie, student were asked about what they liked most and what they have learned from this movie. The English words, their usage, were shown and explained. On the whole, the organisers enjoyed the movie as much as the children did! Here is a youtube copy (In Russian).

Friday, August 10, 2018


This morning, the children and adults at the school spent about 45 minutes clearing the school premises of weeds. Putting hands in the fresh moist soil, felt good for the soul. A good start to the day!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Random Test

Class 4 & 5 were given a random test in Hindi and Mathematics on 8th August. All students (21) except 4, have scored above 50%. The copies will be shared with the students and discussed in a positive and problem solving manner.

Sail the boat on the ocean of mind...

 9th August: We adopted a mindfulness activity for children from "Smiling Mind" android app. It introduces children to an important skill: belly breathing.
So, first we led children into an Origami activity- of making a paper boat. Only Sonia, was able to make one at the first go. Other kids were helped by one another and the new English teacher, Ankush.
Next, Sachin gave a demo of "Sail the boat".
Children, next followed it by lying down, putting the paper boat on their navel, closing eyes and then breathing slowly, rhythmically in such a way that the boat will not topple over - but ride the wave of breathing.
We followed various breath patterns, following the imagery of a boat riding the ocean waves: fast, slow, holding the breath at the end of inspiration and expiration etc.
After an initial phase of giggling and holding themselves "tight", children got into the flow, relaxed and begun to enjoy.  (video)
After about 20 minutes, we asked them to open the eyes, sit up gradually and share their responses.
In the following discussion, we explained how belly breathing, as opposed to chest breathing, helps us to relax.
This can be helpful when children are startled by a sudden question in the class or being called out to the front of the class to recite or answer some question.
It is believed that children LEARN (are not born with) a certain pattern of reacting to stress, which may be counterproductive. Therefore helping children learn a different way of dealing with stress can be helpful in the long run. SMTA thanks the authors of Smiling Mind (link).

The New English Teacher

Ankush Jindal, left, has a background in Hospitality and livelihood sector. He has done rural development field work in South Gujarat (Dang). He has joined SMTA school as a volunteer on 8th August 2018. His other interests are writing and music. Kids are really excited to have him here. SMTA welcomes him with great joy and looks forward to a long period of collaboration.
He began the next day (9th August), with sharing the basic English etiquette - greetings and the reason behind it. He has encouraged students to continue using the traditional greetings as well as use the English ones too sometimes.

Here he explains the concept of a modern ship to the children who have never seen the ocean.