Sharpening the skills of the intellect
By Santrupti Rajankar
TNN | Jan 21, 2013, 01.54 AM IST
BANGALORE: Lateral thinking, concentration and discipline. If you intend to inculcate these qualities in students, then nothing works better than a combination of stimulation and calming - through chess and yoga. That's the mantra Greenwood High School has adopted.
A part of the curriculum from Kindergarten to Class VI, students practice both disciplines once a week for 40 minutes each. The children enjoy both the activities, which help improve concentration and overall development.
Nursery students begin chess by learning to set the board and then move to the game. Says instructor Somnath K, "Chess brings in a lot of discipline. Naughty children learn to be quiet and hyperactive ones learn to concentrate. There is a visible improvement in their behavioural pattern."
In every class, students are allotted different opponents. Girls compete with boys and tend to come out tops. This translates into better performance in class too. On whether students are taught strategic moves for competition, the FIDE-licensed national instructor says, "We are not here to create champions." Only those who have a special interest in the game are taught specialized moves for tournaments and competitions.
Principal Aloysius D'Mello says chess is "far beyond a sport. It is about lateral spacing. When Grandmasters look at the board, they are looking at lateral space. So does a child. This enhances maths skills and concentration, borne out by the astounding level of silence in the chess class".
Students begin yoga from Class I. At the lower level, they learn chanting, especially the Omkar, along with asanas and surya namaskar.
Says instructor Prashant Tak, "Yoga is the joining of the physical, mental and emotional. Pranayama, the breathing technique, ensures the brain gets enough oxygen. They sit quietly and look within, which helps concentration and calms them."
Says D'Mello, "Yoga is all about positive energy. Meditation gives a lot of peace of mind. Asanas keep them healthy."
Students are graded for both these activities. "Making them mandatory has ensured excellence in performance right up to Class X," concludes the principal.