Global Pathways School
Starting in June of 2009 a new school will be opening in Chettipalayam. This is a joint Canadian/Indian project whose mission statement is: To bring excellence in education to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to progress and develop to their utmost ability.
The project administrator is Sunbeam Viswanath of Podanur, Coimbatore and the school will be under the direction of two experienced Canadian educators, Barbara Goodwin-Zeibots and Barbara Galbraith, who are volunteering their knowledge as former heads of an International Baccalaureate school in Toronto. The funding for the project is being led by Theresa and Seth Mersky of Toronto and donations will come from both Canada and India to ensure that this is a sustainable project for the future. A board has been formed in both Canada and India.
The school will start with a kindergarten and a standard one class and will progress to standard eight over a five year period. The school will provide a cooked meal for the children at midday. The language of instruction will be English, and the curriculum will cover the core subjects’ math, English, Tamil, social studies and science as well as music, art, dance and physical education. It will combine Montessori teaching methods as well as an inquiry approach to learning. The classrooms will be well equipped with a variety of materials ensuring that each child will have the opportunity to progress at their own level. This is particularly important for those with special needs who require additional support. Assessment and evaluation will be an ongoing process to ensure progress in learning and the results will be carefully documented. Based on this approach, the two directors have, over the last two years, established successful classrooms at an orphanage in Podanur. These classrooms integrated disabled and mainstream students together. It is hoped that this school in Chettipalayam will become a model of inclusive education.
Two teachers will be hired for each classroom and will receive initial training from the directors and lessons in English will be given. The school will apply for affiliation to the Central Board of Secondary Education. In addition, teachers from International Baccalaureate schools in Canada and India will volunteer their services. Kodaikanal International School will volunteer their students to help with various aspects of the project. In the past year, the directors have established contact with educators and organizations in India, primarily focused on inclusion in education such as Akanksha, the Maharahtra Dyslexia Association, National Resource Centre for Inclusion and Muktangan in Mumbai. These organizations have also offered their ongoing help and information.
Global Pathways will be closely aligned and working alongside Jacob’s House another organization opening in Chettipalayam which provides a home for elderly people who have no family support. The two organizations offer a unique opportunity to link the elderly and the young in mutually supportive ways.