Hope and faith are so powerful that they can make impossible seem possible. That is the kind of impact that Project Little Stars has been creating in the past few weeks. With proactive enthusiasm and effort invested by the special educator and the teaching assistants, the children have shown tremendous impact in not just their understanding of concepts but also the eagerness to get creative and learn more.
The initial assessment of children was carried out with the help of a clinical psychologist during the months of April and May 2012. In this process, the children’s levels of knowledge, understanding and level of learning difficulty was analysed and established. This report will serve as reference to measure the growth of each child at the end of the project in 2013.
The classes began on the 2nd of June 2012. There are three girls and six boys who attend weekend classes of the project, while being enrolled in regular school during weekdays. Two other children, with higher levels of learning difficulties attend evening classes on all days of the week except Sunday.
The classes include sessions on reciting, writing, team games and group activity. Each class is designed in such a way that it not only helps the kids cope with others in school, but also instills self confidence and empowers them to be independent. The combined efforts of the teachers, parents and children, the results have been phenomenal.
Sivaraj (13) is the son of Raman who is employed as support staff in Madurai University and Veerammal who is a daily wage earner. He is often compared to his little sister Swetha who gets better grades as she does not suffer from any learning difficulty. Prior to the start of the project, Sivaraj was a dull boy, who was upset by the mocking resulting from being compared with his sister. But just few weeks into the project, he has evolved as a more cheerful, confident and creative person. He grasped the concept of multiplication as soon as it was taught innovatively by rearranging pairs of footwear. On knowing that the following class would teach him to read the clock, he made a clock using paper and thin stainless steel rods all by himself!
Kalaivanan (9) is the son of Dhanam, a single mother who is supported by her father. Last year, Kalaivanan and his brother underwent tongue tie release surgery. Prior to the program, he was not even able to identify alphabets in Tamil or English. He could write numbers only until 10. But at two months since the start of the program, he is able to not only write numbers until 50, but also do addition. He is able to write small words and convey his thoughts with much more clarity. With constant encouragement from his mother, he is happier and more optimistic about everyday life.
Thus, Project Little Stars is changing the lives of children, by giving them the opportunity to seek a better future, despite their differences from a majority of other children their own age.