Foundational Education for Rural Children and Young People
The Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam has been recognized by the Government of Tamil Nadu as a Middle School. It offers elementary and secondary education to children from grade 1 to 8. Thereafter, we coach students for the official public exams that allow them to obtain the Tamil Nadu Secondary School Leaving Certificate (grades 9-10) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (grades 11-12 Accountancy stream only). The medium of instruction is Tamil.
At the time of admission more than half of our students have substantial learning back logs. In addition to malnutrition, truancy, gender discrimination and low standards of teaching in the schools the students previously attended, these back logs are caused by undiagnosed learning problems and emotional trauma. The latter may have been caused by children having witnessed domestic violence, the loss or absence of a parent and other problematic situations at home.
The maximum number of students we can absorb is fifty. This allows us to work in small groups to identify learning, behavioral and emotional problems and address them for each individual child, where necessary, with the help of a counsellor.
We invite students to develop their English communication skills through workshops by guest teachers, who are native English speakers. Previous workshops have included storytelling in English by international storyteller Craig Jenkins and English through Drama workshops.
The foremost aim of the Gurukulam is to offer all children a safe environment where they can gain self-confidence and develop their academic and artistic potential to the full. It is here that formal education and embodied theatre training complement and reinforce each other to foster independent and critical thinking, sensorial and bodily awareness and a sense of aesthetics.
As an educational community we value equality, diversity, inclusion and peace, in addition to a holistic, healthy living in harmony with the environment. However, we also realize that formal education is not always liberating nor non-violent. As an institution we are wedged between the demands of a depersonalized, competitive educational system and parents, whose expectations do not always match a child’s capacity for learning and for the arts and do not always take into account a child’s own choice.