The Gurukulam offers elementary and secondary education (class 1 to 12) and prepares students to sit for the official Tamil Nadu State Board Exams. The medium of instruction for all subjects is Tamil.
At the time of admission most new students have considerable learning gaps caused by malnutrition, truancy, caste and gender discrimination and- low standards of teaching in the schools they previously attended. There are also undiagnosed learning problems and behavioural and emotional problems arising from problematic situations at home. The school's dedicated team of teachers assesses all new students, setting out child-centred learning plans that address individual learning and/or behavioural problems. The aim is to bring all students at a level of learning commensurate to their age and aptitude.
Five or six seems very young to begin life at a residential school, but the Gurukulam's youngest fit in well and happily participate in student life. Academically they work within a special program for the first two years that focuses on developing their skills in Tamil, English, reading and writing, basic Maths and knowledge of their own world.
The junior students are divided into small classes based on ability rather than age. They study Tamil, English, Maths, Science, Social Studies and learn basic computer skills. Every day they spend half an hour reading books in Tamil and English in quiet reading sessions where staff and volunteers read one-to-one with each child. The courses are a combination of Tamil Nadu State Board Syllabus and course work developed by the teachers of the Gurukulam. The teachers work hard to create interesting, active learning approaches to often complex subject matter.
The students regularly work on projects where every class will focus on different aspects of topics such as the environment (Bean Project, Rubbish Project), gender, buildings or an international sports event (Olympics, Common Wealth Games). At the end of each project students present some of what they have learned to their peers and the Gurukulam staff.
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