Our writer visits Little Flower School in Chennai and is amazed with the dedication shown by the staff as well as the talent and eagerness of the children. Nobody can really tell these children are deaf – they are so fluent in listening, understanding and speaking English as well as Tamil!
Smiles, Smiles and Smiles! This is how I was welcomed at the Little Flower Convent Hr. Sec. School in G.N.Road, Chennai. Occupying a huge area near Gemini flyover, it is a lush green place filled with young enthusiastic children. The school was started way back in 1962 with one child; today it has 535 young minds. The school supports an excellent environment promoting not just education but all hidden talents they posses. With national and state award winning stints in both art and sport genre, the school also has been giving cent percent results at the board, says the Principal.
We focus on all the kids here, with no bias on religion, language or caste. Some of the children when they join, they are quite hesitant and shy, we make sure we bring them in front, make them break their shackles of fear, and interact. We strongly encourage listening and talking, use of sign language is not allowed.
The school aims in promoting education both in English and Tamil medium, free of cost, to all children. It trains teachers in the modern methodologies of teaching the deaf and works untiringly to integrate them into mainstream schools in order to provide them equal opportunities from an early age to lead a normal life like the rest. Also, deserving students are provided hearing aids free of cost with nominal repairing cost.
Sherley, a teacher in the school shares her experience. She says,
It was not a choice I made, I believe God chose me to do this. I have II grade teacher training with special vocational training to teach the deaf. I once had a student with profound deafness. At the end of the term I gave her an audibility test, reading up to 120 lines, and it was just brilliant to see her response. Today she is in a mainstream school.
The words of the teachers there showed the interest and dedication they had towards the children and it seemed like they would go one mile ahead to make sure their children perform better at whatever they chose to do.
Also the parents, especially homemaker mothers, come there out of their own will helping and engaging themselves in the noble cause. For an outsider it looks like a perfect environment for a child to learn, grow and live.
As I was speaking to a few girls of standard I, I found them very excited to tell me their experience. They shared their artwork, a girl of II standard showed me her sketches, and all the girls in the class showed me their project on EVS.
The teacher to student ratio is quite small, in comparison to other schools. For most classes it is around 5-10 students for every one teacher. The school is very keen on organizing cultural and sport festivals, with distinguished and honorary guests every year, in order to inspire the young children.
All in all, Little Flower School has created a holistic environment for the development of deaf children. Not just for the purpose of education, but for overall growth as individuals to achieve their goals and dreams.
It is important for the school to have a website, and they are looking out for consultants or support to help them build one. It will give them access to a larger group of people who need such a facility. The school also provides hostel facility for out-of-city students. If anyone is interested in helping them, please contact the writer at [email protected] and she will put you in touch with the school.