Kolkata’s Heritage School works towards inclusion at every level
In our Top Inclusive Schools of India series, we take you to Kolkata’s The Heritage School, that has been working towards reaching out to children with and without special needs.
The Heritage School was founded in 2001
From co curricular activities to meal times, children with special needs spend their time with everyone else. “They are withdrawn from their classrooms for support lessons, remedial support, according to their learning needs”, says Meenakshi Attal, Principal of The Heritage School. “An Individual Educational Plan, IEP, is drawn up with short term and long term goals by special educators keeping class teachers in the loop.”
Strong focus on building academic strengths of kids with disabilities
The school also focuses on ensuring that all children work towards an academic goal. There are children here with autism, ADHD, Downs syndrome, dyslexia, with hearing impairments, physically disabled, cerebral palsy as well as slow learners.
Sixteen trained special educators are part of the staff and there is a continuous effort to sensitise all staff members.
We do this through school training programmes and our teachers attend CRE or short term programs, conferences and workshops on regular basis” – Meenakshi Attal, Principal
“We do this continuously so that all teachers feel empowered to handle children who learn differently. We also constantly remind our teachers to address the learning styles of different kinds of learners using the VAKT (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and Tactile) approach.”
Accessible infrastructure in the school
There are ramps and lifts so that the entire campus is accessible. Classrooms come equipped with Smart boards and projectors. A child who is critically dyslexic can use a text to voice device on her laptop as she is an auditory learner. Children with writing difficulties can use Tabs for written assignments. Children are also helped with scribes and readers during assessments.
The school charges a small, additional fee at the primary school, which is waived after they reach Class 6.
There is a deliberate effort to sensitise children through assemblies, stories, films and visits towards differences and the need to be respectful. “Yes, inclusion is a challenge”, says Attal.
“All inclusion begins with acceptance in the heart. School leaders and the head of the institution need to believe in inclusion. And that’s the way to go!”
To watch the other stories in the Inclusive Spaces series, click below:
APL Global School, Chennai
St Mary’s , Delhi
Riverside , Ahmedabad
Gamru Village School,Himachal Pradesh
Nankana Sahib Public SchoolLudhiana