Through our workshops and projects, NCI encourages educators to learn the principles and techniques of Integral Education. And in doing so, teachers cultivate learning opportunities that promote cross-cultural communication and collaboration between students in the United States and students in economically challenging communities around the world.
Cross-Cultural Pen Pal Program
This program has connected students at both Community School and Forsyth School with students at Sri Aurobindo’s Educational Academy and Society, NCI’s adopted school in South India. All participants improved their reading and writing skills and benefitted from understanding themselves and children from another culture.
Cross-cultural Pen Pal program.
Through New Creation International, first graders from Forsyth school and second graders from Community School participated in a pen pal program with first and second graders from Sri Aurobindo’s Educational Academy and Society (SAEA) in the village of Gaddipalli located in India. Students’ writing and knowledge of social studies benefitted through this program because they were able to write to another student, as well as exchange their cultural norms and customs. While students at Forsyth school wrote letters, students at SAEA mostly replied in illustrations because English is their second language. Students from both countries were able to learn about each other, so they can better understand the similarities and differences between their cultures.
First and second grade children at Sri Aurobindo School in South India joyfully read letters written by Forsyth first-graders. NCI’s penpal project gave first graders an opportunity to communicate in writing with real meaning and purpose to children across the globe, offering a great opportunity to compare life experiences and gain cultural understanding of children in a different country. Cate Williamson, a third grader at Community School, participated in the pen pal project with students in South India. “I enjoyed writing a letter to one little girl,” Cate recalled. “I asked her things like how many people were in her family, how old she was and what was her favorite after-school activity. I liked getting a letter back from my pen pal even more than I liked sending one!
NCI in Action Abroad
NCI adopted The Sri Aruobindo’s Educational Academy and Society, an underserved school in South India. This school has embraced Integral Education into its curriculum. Through its funding and support, NCI has provided teacher training along with school supplies and educational materials.
Adoption of SAEA
NCI adopted SEAE, an underserved school in South India. This school has embraced Integral Education into its curriculum to better prepare children to become global citizens. With your generous support over the past 5 yrs ($89,000) we were able to do the following: Completed construction on the school building, installed fans and light bulbs in each classroom, bought computers, supply books and essential nutrition, support partial teacher salaries, and provide free education to 200 students in the last 5 years.
Ananya’s and Shrey’s Visit
Over our 2.5 day visit, we were able to see integral education in action in a rural setting in India. Many of the kids came from extremely poor families in difficult circumstances. Several were first generation students. Their natural curiosity for learning amazed us. The children came to school even on a holiday. Activity based learning made it fun to be at school. Later we talked to 3 graduates who had made it to some of the highly selective schools purely on merit. They were the first batch of pen-pallers. They were doing well but missed the meditation and physical activity back at Sri Aurobindo school. They really wished they could come back!! The Sri Aurobindo School of Gadipalli would like to thank St. Louis school partners including Community School, Forsyth School, MICDS for their tremendous support. You are helping us learn and grow and remain curious about our world!