The Summer Reading List for Your Child

I remember during my summer vacations as a school-going child, my mother always insisted that I read a book before I went out and played with my friends.

This one rule was entirely non-negotiable. One book, she’d say, else no play for Jack!So I read a book every day during every summer vacation!Little did I notice when that rule no longer felt as one.

Lying on my bunk, all I did was read, and cultivated and fed the habit. From Famous Fives, Secret Sevens, The Hardy Boys, thousands, or so it feels, of Amar Chitra Kathas, Tintin, any kind of comic for that matter, WW2 illustrations to epics and so on.

I suddenly realised that my empire of knowledge was expanding and that created a different sense of thrill.As a child, I was fascinated with the size of breakfasts and picnics in an English countryside! I knew that American kids at 16 drove jalopies and went on daredevil adventures; I was convinced that WW2 was pale in comparison to the battles in the Mahabharata; some books told me about the universe and its stars and planets, and others engrossed me with tales of wild imaginations and fantasies; it is endless!

Today, looking back, I can guarantee that it is the ONE habit which can create a whole world of difference.I remember reading somewhere:“Pity the man who doesn’t read, his life will be nought but arid!”
However, inculcating the habit of reading in young children requires an all-round effort, both at home and school.Parents have to lead by example. Children emulate their adults, and if parents don’t read in front of their children, then the kids won’t either. Special time must be set aside for reading and story-telling sessions at home.

Schools, especially, play a very important role in developing this habit in young children. Schools must feel responsible to establish a book club, organise book fairs and other activities designed to pique the interest of reading in children.

Mount Litera Zee School, for instance, runs extensive and comprehensive reading programs designed for children from Grade 1 to Grade 9.

The following list of books, categorised by different grades, gives an insight into the school’s commitment to develop the habit of reading in its students. 
Take a look!
Grade 1
a) Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff 
b) The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
c) The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
d) Curious George by H.A.Rey

Grade 2
a) Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl 
b) Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting by Emily Jenkins 
c) Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt 
d) Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney 

Grade 3 
a) Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
b) Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney 
c) Classics for Young Readers, Vol. 3 by Joln Holdren
d) The story of Dr Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Grade 4a) The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm
b) White Fangs by Jack London
c) Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
d) Famous Five series by Enid Blyton

Grade 5 
a) Matilda by Roald Dahl
b) Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
c) Treasure Island by R.L.Stevenson
d) Heidi by J Sypree

Grade 6
a) Chronicles of Narnia, Vol. 1 by C.S.Lewis
b) The Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton
c) The Nancy Drew Series under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene

d) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J K Rowling

Grade 7
a) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling
b) The Nancy Drew Series under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene
c) The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (must read!)
d) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Grade 8
a) Diary of a Young Girl by Anna Frank
b) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J K Rowling
c) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling
 d) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Grade 9
a) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J K Rowling
b) Diary of Anna Frank by Anna Frank
c) Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Cristie
d) Little Women by Louisa M Alcott

Some more recommended reading for students of Grade 1 and upwards:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Jo's Boys and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
A tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Why are we making such a hue and cry about this?!Because:·     
Reading doesn’t only help academically; it gives more panoramic information about the world.
·         Reading is a great tool to building and grooming personalities.
·         Not everything can be taught at home and school, and the only available supplement is reading.
·         Reading can help develop good and interesting hobbies.
·         Reading can expose latent potential and areas of skills development.
·         Reading can build extensive vocabularies and command of language.
·         Reading can be a great catalyst to expand the imagination and aid lateral thinking or thinking out of the box.

Need we say more?!

Communicating With Children

Being able to effectively communicate with children is perhaps one of the most important parenting skills.

It, of course, means investing quality time with the family, especially with the children. And by that, I mean, turn off the TV, keep the iPod away and definitely, get rid of the mobile phone.

Communication with children entails a two-way conversation littered with changing emotional contexts and impulsive behaviours, which requires careful listening, patience and genuine involvement.

Why is it important to spend the time to communicate?

Firstly, children create views influenced by their daily experiences, hence healthy and positive communication experiences allow children to know and understand more about themselves.

Several studies have concluded that the best parent-offspring relationship is fostered by positive interactions. When parents and their children communicate and discuss everything with each other regularly, it creates less conflict, and if there is any conflict, it’s also easier to resolve it.

Research also suggests that when adults show a genuine interest in what children have to say, it creates less aberration in behaviour of action, which requires disciplining.

Nowhere is this more pertinent than in home and school.

Parents and teachers alike must be aware of the fact that their communication method and behaviour has to be appropriate to the age of the child, to build self-esteem and mutual respect.

Here are some basic principles which we can all follow when communicating with children.

·         Listen! And that means, really listen. It gives a clear message to the child that you are interested and involved.
·         If it’s not the end of the world on the news or the family soap opera, then please switch off the TV, or the music, or close the book or paper you are reading, when your child wants to talk to you.
·         Children communicate better in a one-to-one situation, so make that possible by creating a sense of privacy.
·         No one likes to be put on the spot, and children are emotionally sensitive, more than you think, so don’t embarrass or belittle the child in front of others. This will create defensive behaviour bordering on hostility.
·         Always get down to the child’s physical level during a conversation.
·         Sometimes children can be trying and if you lose your cool, don’t communicate till you have regained your composure. A word or two said in heat can cause lasting resentment and regret.
·         I cannot over-emphasize the importance of listening. When the day has been really long and hard, you have to make a greater effort to listen to the child trying to tell his/her story.
·         Do not dismiss suggestions made by your child nonchalantly. For example, refrain from saying things like “Don’t get involved in what others do” or “What’s the sense in that?”
·         Also, avoid using words like stupid, dumb, lazy, etc which will diminish the child’s view of themselves and their self-esteem.
·         Children often make mistakes. Instead of deriding them, what’s more effective is to encourage the child to keep the communication open. There isn’t much point in asking why something happened, knowing and understanding what happened will be rather more fruitful.
·         Children, frequently want to hear words of encouragement and praise. When you use words like great, marvellous, excellent, correct etc, they create a sense of achievement. Children feel loved and appreciated.
·         Finally, while words and the manner in which they are communicated to a child play a crucial role, non verbal communication gestures such as a pat on the back, smile, nod, showing approval, eye contact etc, will help in completing a wholesome interaction with a child.

Children epitomise the behaviour of their parents and teachers. The right model of communication will enable a child to share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and emotions, comfortably and uninhibitedly.

Unique Talent Spotting Exercises at Mount Litera Zee School, Bangalore

We hear about tennis and chess prodigies coming from relatively impoverished backgrounds in Russia. Back home, we also know about Rajinikanth, superstar of the Film Industry and his humble background as a bus conductor. All around us, there are instances where people have inherent talents that were spotted just in time by a Good Samaritan and changed their lives forever.

Influence of Early Talent Spotting in Adult Years

There are abilities and talents that are inherent in children. All they need is a range of exposure and a good quality of exposure to help them hone that skill and excel at it. As a school that believes in spotting talent early, we have observed that children who are exposed to a range of activities early on, have a greater chance of finding their true talents and being a success at it. This leaves them with more time on hand to practice as well as find the correct medium to express themselves to the public.
To support our theory, we have cemented a broad based curriculum for children across all ages at Mount Litera Zee Schools under SamSidh Group.

We believe that every child is gifted

This may sound like a very convenient statement to make, but it’s not. And we know every parent has at one point or another believed that their child has a special ability. Over the years, the belief that every child is actually unique and has talents has only grown stronger.
Here are some of the ways in which we let a child blossom and give ample opportunity for his/her unique and natural talents to surface.

·  Observing Natural Interests: What a child enjoys or shows curiosity about during his/her free time is a great way to learn about his natural interests. Once we discover it, the next step is to find out if he displays exceptional understanding and ability when it comes to that activity. And finally, we expose the child more and more to higher level of the activity, at the same time helping with everything we can to sharpen that skill.

·  CCA - Co-Curricular Activities: MLZS has a dedicated hour when competitions (individual and group) are conducted on sports and various topics. The topics range from projects, presentations, recitation, art, craft, quiz and much more to help provide a wide range of exposure to all our children.

·  Daily Assembly: During the Assembly, the students are given a free reign to choose various topics and talk about them. This includes presentations which is another way of giving exposure to fine oratory and writing skills.

·  School Council with Prefects: Leadership emerges strongest when children are given various responsible roles like class in charge, discipline in charge, cleanliness in charge etc. Our teachers closely observe the ability of each and every child who receives this responsibility.

·  Everyday Classroom Activity: Our classroom activities are centered on the children. Each day is a new and fresh exercise for them to experiment with new tasks that our teachers have specifically set for them with the intent of exposing them to as wide a field of activities as possible.

Apart from this children who do well academically, are routinely checked if their performance is best in any particular field.

At home, support your child’s budding talent with tireless zeal yourself. If your child insists on visiting the aquarium again and again to look at the stars more closely, he is fascinated by the field of astrology.

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is Better to Give than to Receive - By Vazira

“No-one has ever become poor by giving.” - Anne Frank.

Every year, Diwali heralds a burst of activity in every Indian household. In the center of these tumultuous days of preparing for the festival, stands the lady of the house.

This day, every year, new clothes have to be bought for the children (I am now an expert in internet fashion!), an unending supply of goodies to cook (it’s a sleight of hand!), and not to mention giving the house a thorough spring cleaning (and I’m not a spring chicken!). It was more tiring than the toughest of my teaching days. And if that’s not all, the lady of the house has to look special!!!

This Diwali was unusual. Surrounded by whoops and glees of my children, I suddenly realized how everyone deserved to smile on this day. Tired as I felt, I couldn’t help remembering that Diwali is a celebration of the victor, Good, over its adversary, Evil. Surely, that’s a reason for everyone to smile!

There are two maids who help out with the domestic chores. I gave them a saree and some cash each. I gave more cash to the fellow who cleans our car, and then I gave some to the garbage collector, and a few others, who I felt were less fortunate. I felt satisfied knowing that the money is more than welcome.

I even refrained from bargaining while shopping for Diwali with small-time roadside vendors selling lamps, candles and flowers. I could see that they could do a bit for their families with the extra cash and that was a source of great elation for me.

I could see the smiles on the faces of their children, and that proved to be exhilarating! My initial drive to see a smile on everyone on Diwali created this deep realization that giving is a wonderful thing to do! Much better than receiving!

For instance, I now understand why Bill Gates with his majestic billions, not only invests so much time and energy in third-world countries, but also his billions. He is helping millions of poor people lead a better life rather than spending it in luxurious, hedonistic living.
To change someone’s life for the better, to be the agent of that change, to put a smile on a face, are blessings, I felt.

As a teacher, it hit me right in the middle. All this while, unknowingly, I had unconditionally given and shared with my students. It dawned on me that I’m very fortunate to receive their genuine love, respect and admiration. I came to the conclusion that the very act of giving is a sacred lesson every institution should epitomize to its students.

Look at the difference a noble act of giving can make. Helping someone with money can create instant relief. Hundreds of youngsters gave their time and energy for the Teach India Movement. The soldiers of our country take it one step further by putting their lives on the line for the love of the country and its people.

The more and more I thought about it, I am convinced that every child should understand the act of giving and sharing from an early age. Not only parents, but also schools must create an atmosphere of giving and sharing.

I am of the firm belief, that teach a child a good habit and the child will keep that habit for a lifetime.
I know! I have proof!

Nurturing Leadership Qualities in Young Children - A Simple Tale by Jayalakshmi

“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” – Frederick Douglas

What does it take for a school to nurture all their children to become 21st century leaders? Is that even possible? Are leaders born or are they made?
Leadership is developed when children are encouraged to try, think, experiment, fail, fall, speak, listen, take decisions, dream, take responsibilities, make mistakes, imagine and be fair.   


Rosa is three years old and lives with her parents in Bangalore.  Her father is an IT professional and travels frequently. Her mother is a bank employee and works five days a week.
Rosa has a live-in Nanny, Josie, who takes care of her needs. Her parents are very happy that they have found such a reliable caretaker, although Nanny Josie did not possess any formal qualifications in child care.

Now Rosa has turned four. Like most children, her curiosity and eagerness to explore the world grew and Nanny Josie was always with her in these little adventures and explorations.

When Rosa played in the garden, her nanny often said: “Don’t spoil your nice dress. Your mom has paid a lot of money for it.” If Rosa wanted to choose her clothes, her nanny intervened: “I will choose the best dress for you.”

At times when Rosa played in the rain, her nanny forbade her: “Don’t get wet in the rain, you will fall sick.” When Rosa wanted to run, her nanny used words of caution: “Don’t run, you’ll fall and your mom will say I did not take care of you properly.”  

If Rosa wanted to have a bath by herself or brush her teeth, her nanny jumped in: “You can’t bathe or brush like that, I will help you with it.” On days when Rosa wanted to eat by herself, her nanny, as was the custom by now, said: “No you will spoil your dress and create a mess.”

Thus, Rosa grew up for the first 10 years of her life with an incessant barrage of: ”No, you can’t do it, I will do it for you” or “Don’t do that!”

Her class teacher Nirmala had always thought of Rosa as an intelligent girl, eager to learn and curious. Strangely, these days, she found the child to be withdrawn and quiet. Rosa had low self-esteem, and her confidence was shaken.  She thought others were better than her. 
Her mother noticed that her daughter was not able to stand up for herself and had become increasingly dependent. Rosa was hesitant to do her own work and seldom took any initiative.

This led to frequent arguments in the family. Rosa’s academic scores nosedived. Finally, her parents felt that their expectations of bringing up a successful daughter were slowly and disappointingly, failing.

Her mother decided to enroll Rosa for tuitions after the next PTM. When Rosa’s mother met Nirmala at the PTM, she expressed her concerns about Rosa. Nirmala, in turn, gave the mother a quick course on PARENTING.

Since the school’s curriculum also taught life skills, the children were already involved in various activities to improve communication skills, develop leadership abilities and build a positive personality.

There was one condition, though. Both parents will have to invest time, energy and resources to bring back the curiosity in the child.

If Rosa was involved in taking simple decisions for the house, allowed to experiment in planning certain activities for their home, made responsible for her own daily activities, involved in general conversations, asked for opinions, allowed to make mistakes, allowed to learn and adjust from failures, encouraged to give opinions and permitted to have a dream for herself, she can shine and lead herself in the path of success.

Her parents decided to test their learning from Nirmala’s lesson.  They began to engage Rosa in the matters of the family and trusted her abilities. Today, Rosa is 16.  She has transformed into a confident teenager. She has won much recognition in public speaking and debates. She wants to be a journalist and she knows her parents and teachers believe in her. The leader in Rosa has raised her head!
This short story by Jayalakshmi poses an important question: Can a child become a leader if the freedom of decision-making is restricted for the first 18 years of life?
Leadership skills, read as life skills, are a very significant set of tools to deal with our ever-changing environment.

Perhaps, there isn’t anything more pertinent as it is in the case of children with evolving maturities and levels of understanding. Today’s child is raised in a fiercely competitive atmosphere. There is constant pressure to excel in academics, sports and social behavior, to name a few.

Parents need to pay extra attention to raise their children who grow up with balanced psychologies. It’s no longer just about food, clothes and medicines. Parents of this century must be aware that their children’s success will simply not be a measure of college grades but largely, will depend on their communication and leadership skills.
Your teacher loves you”, is the first sentence children hear when they are being disciplined. Childhood is only for a few years, it should be filled with beautiful memories. School is another most impressionable place in a child’s life after home. For two years now Jayalakshmi has been imparting stories and experiences of life in a fun way using many activities like case studies, team games, thinking games and debates to prepare the little ones for life and not just exams.

Genuine Tips for Parents to Battle Exam Stress

Why does exam time always spell stress for parents as well as children? Mainly, because of what is at stake. While we agree that a little bit of stress is a good thing, as it helps students to buckle down and concentrate, it is also true that when exam stress gets out of hand, it can interfere with a good performance.
Here are some practical and genuine tips from teachers at Mount Litera Zee School for all the parents and children in this crucial time of exams.

·         Mostly, stress comes out of feeling, “Will I remember everything when I’m down to actually writing the paper?” Help your child manage this stress by keeping a proper time-table during exam time. Insisting on revision is a very good mechanism for children to feel assured of recalling things during exam time.

·         Keep reminding your child that if they have followed all the proper steps during preparation for the exam, they will do well and don't have to worry about something that will not happen in all probability.

·         Let your child find out what works best for them. For example, we notice that some children are more alert in the morning than when it is time to leave for home or that some like writing everything down before they fully grasp a concept. Some even understand better when they come to us after class for a recap. Being aware of what works best will save a lot of time and stress for everyone.

·        Learn to recognize when your child is stressing out. Give them a break to chat with someone who will put things in proper perspective for them.

·         Refrain from comparing abilities with peers. Everyone approaches a topic differently and should be allowed to progress at their own pace.

·         We don’t need to remind you that proper diet plays an extremely important role in feeling overall good and energetic. Juices, fruits and proper breakfast will ensure your child feels energetic at all times.

·         While most children (and parents) do lose sleep over exams, we really advise you to get your eight hours. Don’t turn your bed into a study table. Your bed is your sanctuary.

·         Tell your child how to deal with a panic attack (if he/she has shown a tendency towards it) Taking deep breaths and counting to 5 for every breath helps slow the heart rate down. In any case, we are always there for your child. Remind them about this.

·         If your child is constantly complaining of forgetfulness, it is a sure shot sign of excessive stress. Help him/her unwind by taking frequent breaks and timely revisions to ensure he/she feels safe.

Finally, it is important to remind your child that there is life after exams. Things may seem intense right now but it won’t last forever. Also, we at MLZS are always open for any kind of queries or even suggestions that you may have. All the very best to you and your child for Exams!

Summer Time Fun with Kids

We know that everyone’s schedule during summer vacations is jam packed – every vacation minute really counts. Both children and elders like to make the most of it. After all there are grandparents to visit, a family vacation to plan or even extra classes for the new academic year or a new hobby may be on your list this time.

That’s why came up with a really interesting list of things to do this summer vacation. It has a little bit to do with learning (as we all must continue to as long as we live) to a lot of fun activities with your children. So, here goes!

·         Organize a Nature Scavenger Hunt for all the children in the family when you get together. You will need to have an open space for this, preferably a garden. Put together a list of things that only describe an object.

ü  Something smooth/round/rough/straight
ü  Two types of seeds
ü  Two pieces of man-made litter
ü  A rock
ü  Something green
ü  A chewed leaf
ü  Something you think can be treasured

Set the clock and the first one to get all the things together wins. This can also be played by adults and in groups. Use your imagination with this nature inspired game.

·         To encourage reading, start a Summer Reading Chain. This chain can essentially be made from anything that your child loves. Colorful pebbles, racing cars, bracelets, etc. For every book that your child finishes reading, add a pebble, car or a bracelet (whichever you choose) to a colorful string and hang it in your kid’s room. This way everyone will know how many books your child has read and it will encourage him/her to get more of these items on the reading chain.

·        Organize a Flameless Cooking Class for kids. Simply put together an extensive menu like the one given below and get some recipes off the net if you are unsure how to teach them:

ü  Poha soaked in coconut milk
ü  Milkmaid kheer
ü  Homemade Ice Cream
ü  No Bake Cookies
ü  Chocolate coated marshmallows
ü  Smoothies
ü  Sherbets
·         Your Child’s First Photography Class is what may make this summer vacation the most memorable of them all.
If your child has never handled a camera, maybe now is the time. Children as young as 4 year old have shown the capability of handling a ‘point and shoot’ camera and come away with stunning results. Be sure to set boundaries and limits on how to gently handle the camera and where to shoot before teaching them how to photograph. You might just come away with some of the most interesting clicks of your lifetime!

·         Children love to play outdoors, especially in the mud. Why not turn it into a productive activity by teaching your child how to plant saplings and seeds. Let’s call this one “The Little Gardener”, shall we?
Gardening is also a great way to introduce your kids to learn about responsibility (watering the pots everyday), to nurturing a sweet anticipation of their efforts bearing fruits when a sapling flowers or a seed germinates.

There are lots of activities that you can plan for your kids. The important thing to remember is that the lessons that will stay with them will be the ones where they had the most fun. So go forth and plan your summer holidays with some of our suggestions!

Happy Holidays!!!

Aruna Thappa’s Amazing Story of Transformation

Aruna Thappa’s Amazing Story of Transformation
Can one be blessed with a power of teaching? Aruna Thappa tells us an amazing story of her transformation as a Mount Litera Zee School Teacher.
“Before joining Mount Litera Zee School, I worked with many reputed schools. I won many awards. The perks were high, my seniors and students were very happy with me, but as a teacher I wanted to do something different. I was not satisfied and missed something. I wanted to explore my creativity, my innovative method of teaching. Sadly, my hands were tied. I couldn’t do anything as I had to follow the structured method of the school’s methodology.”
Ever so often, we are shackled by the chains of tradition, when it comes to our children. Since children are our most precious possession, it is only natural we don’t want anything to go wrong in the way they are brought up. And thus, we rely on traditions. A bit too much sometimes, for our own good.
But there are some creative souls out there, like our teacher Aruna Thappa, who is slowly changing the way things work in a teacher-pupil relationship. When she came to Mount Litera Zee School, she could feel the palpable difference between the attitudes of children here.

“I shifted to HSR layout and joined MLZS in 2011 and this turned out to be the best decision of my life. I hadn’t imagined a school where students were so excited to attend the classes. They had a desire to work on projects and research, plus had no issues staying back after school or on weekends. There were no discipline problems here because the students were so engaged in their studies and activities that those problems disappeared. I was very impressed with their vision- ‘To help each child to realize their true potential” and “To create 21st century leaders.”

Here Aruna had to actually unlearn a lot of traditional approaches to teaching. Her previous 10 years as a teacher amounted to zilch. She carefully started polishing her inherent creativity and started seeing the uniqueness of each child. She developed ways to cater to each one of her differently talented children in the short 40 minutes of her period.
Learning mathematics by doing activities is fun filled. Once I started infusing my classes with these frequent doses of interactivity, there was genuine joy in learning. Lots of brain storming questions, quiz, role-plays and hands on activities make our classes so alive.  I uploaded their lessons videos on you tube, so that they can access it from anywhere"
Suddenly, completion of syllabus didn’t matter as much as it used to. Her children were already racing towards that goal without her having to rush it.

“At the core of everything we do at MLZS is one simple question - What’s Right for the Child? Using this mantra we filter all our decisions and actions. WRFC helps us to keep child at the centre of everything we do.”

Learning happens best when it is connected to the real world we live in. Emerging student profile (ESP) is our goal and our promise. It has 3 main faculties: Core values, Knowledge and Life skills. Core values function as the foundation of leadership. Our student’s role models these values:
·         Integrity
·         Open Mindedness
·         Authenticity
·         Humility
·         Growth Mindset
·         Compassion

In MLZS, Knowledge goes beyond the traditional boundaries of academic learning. Our students gained knowledge in:

·         Higher order thinking skills
·         Sports
·         Art
·         Entrepreneurship
·         Finance
Life skills are critical to lead life powerfully. Our students emerged out of school with the following life skills:
·         Effective habits
·         Media literacy
·         Aesthetic sense
·         Meta-cognition
·         Risk taking
·         Self-Management
To achieve ESP we have eight dimension approaches, through our model “Litera Octave” 
·         Litera content
·         Litera teacher
·         Litera assessment
·         Litera parents
·         Litera enrichment
·         Litera life skills
·         Litera network
·         Litera Infra
Aruna underwent training in our in-house workshops which helped her hone her creativity and pass it onto the students. Today, she is no longer a tutor. She is a facilitator who ensures that she keeps the joy of learning alive in her children, thereby turning them into life-long learners.

“As a Zee school teacher, yes I am very different. We may have the same eyes but I use mine differently, to see no one is left unattended in my class. We may have the same heart but I use mine differently, because I am teaching children not machines. I’m different because I do things differently. I am not motivated by money and position, my best rewards are their unconditional love and respect. I may stand out differently because I salute my duty rather than saluting others. Yes, I am different but I love it and I love being different. 

My achievements may not appeal to some- but for me those are my strengths. It gives me an adrenaline rush- and makes me feel worthwhile. I’m a heroine to the kids I’ve taught or am teaching. The greatest thing I’ve ever done.”
-Aruna Thappa

Aruna Thapa, has been with  MLZS South since four years.  She teaches mathematics to grade V.

Aruna – in her own words – “Being confident and passionate towards teaching is the key to my life. I always believe, don’t be afraid to be you! Create your own visual style, let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.
inspire my students to follow their dreams, discover their creativity, interests and talents, and learn to their fullest potential. My purpose is not to create students of my own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.

I always follow Mr. Kalam words “If you salute your duty, you no need to salute anybody, but if you pollute your duty, you have to salute everyone.”

What every parent needs to know about Moral Values by Anitha

What every parent needs to know about Moral Values by Anitha
"There are little eyes upon you and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager to do everything you do.
And a little child who's dreaming of the day he'll be like you."

                                                             -- Author unknown
As parents to children in a fast paced world, it is easy for moral values to get lost in translation. If we, as primary caregivers of our children do not believe that moral values are as important as being competitive, then we may be headed for utter chaos.
Anitha, who has been with MLZS since many years has found this trend deeply disturbing. She did some soul searching and figured out a way to instill important values in children at school. Here are her findings:

Values and beliefs are our way of life. They guide us to differentiate between good and bad even in adverse situations. Ironically, these values and beliefs are not mandatory for human survival.
There are two aspects to these core values that we should look into –
  1. Knowledge on various core values i.e., I know
  2. To follow the path of righteousness based on these values i.e., I follow
“In today’s scenario, there is a gap between ‘what I know’ about values and with what intensity do ‘I follow’ them. 
We all know the basic difference between right and wrong. But how many times are we able to follow through with right deeds, even when it is contrary to our immediate gain?
Basically every educated individual has a strong awareness on what is right. But some situations demand actions that need deviation from the core values. A simple example is the bribe given when jumping a signal or for the failure to produce a licence on the road when asked for. What matters more at that point of time is to overcome the situation than the consequences of the wrong action done.
In due period of time, values are compromised and escape routes are used whenever such situations occur in life. Hence the gap between what ‘I know’ and what ‘I follow’ widens. Self-realization occurs only when the consequences of the actions threaten the very existence of the individual. For example, all smokers know that smoking is injurious to health. But they let go off the habit only when a serious health hazard occurs in their lives. Their decision to quit the habit and stick to it then enters their core belief system. In most cases, adults learn to follow the values and adhere to their core beliefs only through unpleasant experiences. “
How schools like MLZS have evolved to accommodate the growing need for moral values
“It is believed that the course of one’s adult life depends on what they learn in the childhood. Till a decade ago, schools were largely academic oriented. It was believed that students who excelled in academics possessed and exhibited high values. Hence focus was given only to academic performance. Sadly, this belief did not hold true in many cases. Today the educationists have realised the gap between ‘I know’ and ‘I follow’ and are determined to imbibe core values in childhood stage blended with academics. “
“It has been found that childhood and adolescence are stages when the children are very idealistic. They believe that they live in an ideal world. We, as teachers and parents need to take advantage of this period to inculcate values in them. Children are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. When academic subjects are taught, learning happens through text books, thumb rules to be followed, through logical reasoning and so on. But on the other hand, values need to be taken to children through –“
  1. Case studies – lives of leaders who achieved greatness by following values
  2. By showing motivational videos where values are exhibited by individuals
  3. Demonstration of values by teachers in the form of role plays.
  4. Strong emphasis on outcomes when values are followed.
  5. Giving them real life situations where they have to think and express their views based on the values that they know.
  6. Constantly reminding them that it is important to be a better individual first and then a better professional in life.
How can parents ensure these values take root in a young learners mind?
“Value education should be consistent and repetitive in nature since they should take the form of roots in the minds of children. Like Mahatma Gandhi has rightly said “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
And finally, how do you test if a child has inculcated these values?
“Academic excellence can be measured through scores, grades and ranks and children are motivated to perform since their external environment is highly competitive. As for values, the measuring scale is only peace of mind, in other words, internal happiness that is achieved by following the core values. As mentors, constant encouragement and motivation are very critical in imparting values to children. Our mission will be held successful only when every student realises that “If I don’t value the values, I have no value”. Our vision is to create leaders of 21stcentury who will be known for their values and not only by their educational qualification.”
Anitha Shankar is the Co-ordinator of Grade I.  She takes English for Grade
Anitha writes about herself.  “Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being.’ This defines me and I feel proud that I share this quality with Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.  I am in this noble profession of developing future leaders for the past five years and I have been associated with Mount Litera Zee school for the last two years. 
Throughout my eventful life, one thing that has been constant is ‘change’. Hence my learning has been not to be afraid of change. I may have lost something good but I have always gained something 
better every time. “

Teaching your children about the joy of giving

Teaching your children about “the joy of giving” can empower them with important life lessons
Teachers at Mount Litera Zee School have always seen the world through the eyes of our children. Because children always take an uncomplicated view of life and truly they are our only hope for the future.
Our EVS teacher for Grade 3, Ms. Joice, shares an incident highlighting this very fact that took place a few weeks ago. We hope it opens our eyes to the most basic characteristics that we are all born with; charity and compassion.
Ms. Joice has always marveled at the fact that how every time she helped a person in need, it gave her more satisfaction and joy than when she acquired something new. The following story is narrated by her in her own words.
 I was out with my son one day and saw him giving 200 rupees to a poor man who was without legs, from his pocket money. He had been collecting it to buy a remote control car for himself. Intrigued by this action, I asked him why he did it (considering there was no prompting from my side to precipitate this action). His immediate reply was “Mum imagine if I was born like that person without legs, would you not have supported me? I kept myself in that person’s shoes. It must be so painful for him, so I thanked God for my two legs and gave him all my pocket money” I was speechless. I saw true happiness and joy in my son’s eyes. He wasn’t scared, in fact he looked happy. He just said “Mum I don’t regret giving him that money because that uncle cried and thanked me. Don’t worry its fine even if I don’t get a remote control car.”
Children are born with an innate sense of charity and compassion. This may not sound quite true when your kids are hankering after the newest toys and the sweetest candy in store, but look closely. You will see signs of compassion ever so often. Observe when a toddler offers consolation to his/her friend when they are crying. Or comfort a waling baby by offering their favorite toys.
Children naturally look for ways to contribute and help others. Only we may not be able to see it in the daily hum-drum of our lives. One sure shot way of nurturing this innate quality of your child is to allow him/her to exercise this ability to ‘give’. School environment is perfect for your children to exercise their charitable muscle so that they become really good at giving too.
Teachers like Joice, who recognize this inherent quality in children, are the ones who are truly able to provide safe opportunities to children to practice the joy of giving. Mrs. Joice spends 6 minutes of her after class time to ‘listen’ to one child every day. And by listening, we truly mean listening, without interruption. She provides a safe outlet for them to pour out their heart out to her, with only a word or two of encouragement, when needed.

She knows her kids very well. In her 3 years with Mount Litera Zee School, she has seen and experienced empathy and compassion in children. She says, "My greatest joy is being with the children. I love to recognize and bring out their innate potential through activity based learning. I have also changed my views about Teaching and Learning after I joined Zee school which gives me a lot of happiness. Of course I feel very happy when parents have the trust in us and spread the positive word of mouth."