During the early days of the novel coronavirus pandemic, when school leaders across the country were devising ways and means to stay connected with students and ensure learning continuity, Delhi-based Nirmal Bhartia School (NiBS) — a frontrunner in promoting strong institution-home-community partnership and delivering holistic, child-inspired pedagogies to students — launched an innovative community driven initiative titled ‘SMILE, Together We Can’.
At the core of the SMILE programme is a weekly e-newsletter enriched with a hearty dose of SMILEing inspiration inviting students and families to engage in a host of inspiring activities. The NiBS SMILE team — comprising teachers, students, parents of NiBS and partner schools — helps the SMILE community connect and interact with thought leaders and change-makers from various walks of life through virtual sessions and workshops streamed live on social media.
“‘SMILE, Together We Can’ is a holistic well-being initiative born out of a deep faith in the ‘Power of Community’ which lies at the heart of the NiBS ethos. We launched the programme on April 12 this year with objective of reaching out to and building a close-knit community of children, parents and families across the globe thereby helping them remain connected in spirit and heart despite the constraints of social distancing amid the pandemic,” says Charu Wahi, principal, NiBS.
The SMILE team sends out a weekly inspiration to the SMILE community in the form of a thoughtfully curated e-booklet with a range of holistic activities encouraging students, teachers and families to Sing happy songs, Make original art, Ignite and Inspire ideas for change, Listen to the voice of the heart, and Energise, Electrify and play their part.
Each of these activities is carefully designed to encourage deeper thinking, foster creativity, develop new perspectives and stimulate creative or empathetic responses. The responses received in the form of artworks, pictures, videos, poems or stories are shared with a growing online community of parents, children and teachers from all over the world, via the SMILE microsite https://www.nirmalbhartia.org/smile/ and the SMILE, Together Can social media page https://www.instagram.com/smile_togetherwecan/ .
Students from the SMILE partner schools participate in SMILE, Together We Can projects specially designed to encourage creativity, collaboration, initiative and community engagement. As students come together to be the change, one SMILE at a time, sharing ideas, talents and skills with peers across the country and world, the projects help them engender both, a deeper understanding of themselves, and that of the miraculous Power of Community.
Presently, the steadily growing number of SMILE partner schools and institutional partners across the globe include:
- KC High School – Chennai
- Chickar International School – Bareilly
- The Study Hall – Lucknow
- Oasis International School – Bangalore
- GVHSSG School, Nadakkvu, Calicut, Kerala
- Woodlem Park School- Ajman, UAE
- Pallikoodam, Kottayam, Kerala
- Druk Padma Karpo School, Ladakh
- Bombay International School, Mumbai
- Children First, founded by Dr. Amit Sen,
- The London International Gallery of Children’s Art
Over the past eight months, the highly skilled SMILE Ambassadors have conducted several virtual programmes under the theme ‘It’s a SMILE World’. Among them:
‘Drumming Up a SMILE’ with The Drum Café, a workshop on creating lively music at home.
‘An I’mpossible SMILE’, with motivational speaker Major General Vikram Dev Dogra.
‘The Light among the Shadows’ by the “Koonathara Troupe” from Kerala staging the epic “Kamba Ramayana” in the ancient puppet art form ‘Tholpavakoothu’.
“From Muttala to our Metropolises”, a workshop on environmental sustainability by artist and environmentalist Arun Kumar HG.
“I have a dream”, “Be the Change”, with young change-makers Vihaan and Nav Agarwal, founders of the ‘One Step Greener’ NGO and Malavath Poorna, youngest Indian to scale the Mount Everest.
To join the SMILE, Together We Can contagion and spread the Power of Community, please share your contact details here.Posted in Campus, News