“I have done better in my physics exams after a visit to the Eureka Science Research Centre. I scored 84 in the first mid-term and 99 in the quarterly exam,” said M. Yogalakshmi, a student of class IX of Chennai Girls High School on Cooks Road. She added that it was fun to be able to see and actually do those experiments and, “It will be nice if we could have continuous access to such a laboratory at our school.”
Like Yogalakshmi, over 3,000 students of classes VIII and IX, in Chennai Corporation schools have had the opportunity to visit the centre. Teachers and school heads say that such visits have led to more student participation and involvement in class, and children have become interested in science-related activities.
Hemalatha Ramkumar, headmistress of the Cooks Road school said there had been a lot of change in the children after the visit. “They have tried out Newton’s Third Law of Motion with a pencil and scale and experimented with a pulley in wells at home,” she said.
The Corporation has been organising several such programmes for the students of over 270 of its schools. Around 500 students have visited the Government Museum at Egmore as part of ‘Pannpaattu Palakani’ where they are exposed to a folk art each week.
Students have also been taken to DakshinaChitra, a centre for art, folk performing arts and craft, where they watched movies, played puzzles, learnt to make puppets and wall paintings among other things. S. Sheeba, a student of class VIII, said that it was fun to go to the three-day camp and it would be great if they had such camps on a regular basis.
The civic body’s joint commissioner (education) T.N. Venkatesh said: “We aim to provide exposure to children on fine arts and a better appreciation of our heritage and culture. Field visits are conducted to take education beyond classroom learning. This helps in their all-round development.”
Senior educationist S.S. Rajagopalan said that it was good that the Corporation had revived exposure visits for its students. “Learning through experience and observation is very good for children. Their attitude towards learning will also be good. If you show them and then teach the lesson in class, it will be interesting for the students,” he said.
Another set of children learn Carnatic music and they are mentored by vocalist Nithyashree Mahadevan. “There is a lot of enthusiasm among the 40 children, who are taught by my students. To be able to hold the Sruthi and sing in the correct raga and thala is a great achievement for any child and these children have been able to catch up in a short while. This exposure will help them appreciate good music and improve concentration,” said Ms. Mahadevan.
K.S. Natarajan of Aanmajothi, an organisation which aims to take music and dance to children, said after students started learning music and dance, they are encouraged to participate in their school annual day functions.