Chaitanya Mano Vikasa Kendra is a day school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and learning disabilities in an urban setting in Bangalore, India. The school provides an educational program for children aged 4 to 16 years. It has a trained staff of three; a head teacher, an assistant teacher and a teacher aide. The school supports an economically disadvantaged population; families pay a small fee to cover school supplies but the school is primarily supported by charitable contributions and fund-raising activities organized by Chaitanya Educational Foundation in USA and Chaitanya Trust in India.
The school provides an individualized program for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and learning disabilities. The program has been designed to develop these skills in students:
- Self Care Skills : feeding, toileting, grooming and dressin
- Academic Skills : Concepts of color, shape and size; reading, writing and early math skills
- Gross Motor Skills : ball catching, skills, exercises and yoga
- Fine Motor Skills : threading beads, lacing, cutting, coloring and hand writing. For children with learning disabilities, the program builds on the child’s strengths to help overcome learning disabilities.
As soon as the student is admitted to the school the first skills the teachers work on are to help the students get used to the school:
- sitting in one place
- following the daily routine
- toilet training and basic hygiene
Simultaneously the child’s skills are assessed.
The teacher develops an individualized program, setting specific goals to be worked on in all areas of a student’s development. Progress towards achieving these goals is assessed every six months.
Encouraging the physical development of the child is also part of the program, with daily exercise and yoga being incorporated in the program. Students also enjoy music, dance and playing indoor games.
The school participates in a school lunch program which ensures that all students receive a nutritional meal.
Students enjoy field trips to many venues. Every year, students attend a program of World Disabled Day which is held on December 3. The program consists of speech, awards, and a cultural program featuring children with disabilities.
Student also enjoyed field trips to a Flower Show at Lal Bagh (‘red garden’), picnics and visits to local parks. They also make periodic visits to a temple which is walking distance from the school.
The School, the Family and the Community
Families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities also would like their child to be a part of the community. The school encourages parent involvement and parent support in all school activities. Also parents participate in school events such as field trips.
Every Thursday, a local community group organizes a Bhajan (singing of devotional songs) at the school. Families of students and interested community members are also invited to an Annual School Day, when the talents of the students are showcased.
Volunteers have been an integral part of CEF activities. Volunteers help with
fundraising activities – garage sales and tables at various events. Volunteers
offer their skills to raise money for the foundation.
Volunteers help translate school reports which arrive in an Indian language, In
the past for the making of brochures, posters and websites, several people
have sometimes been paid for these activities and at other times have
volunteered their services.