Hyderabad: Children are rarely taught how to handle problems or failure or even to think out of the box for solutions. This is exactly what SUPAR School, an initiative by Sudheer Sandra, a city-based psychologist, attempts to address.
Sudheer Parallel School, as he calls it, is an initiative where school students enroll for a unique curriculum wherein they are given activities and tasks that kindle and build problem-solving skills.
About the idea behind the initiative, Sudheer says: “I worked as a psychologist and a counselor for over a decade and I was conducting training sessions in schools and colleges all over Telangana and Andhra. When the lockdown hit last year, schools shut down and I noticed kids getting hooked onto devices with no other activity. I then initiated a summer edutainment programme at a nominal cost, on an experimental basis and it was a hit.”
The summer programme had a 7-day workshop wherein children were given a unique task on a daily basis and had to come up with a solution accordingly.
“I told the students to build a ladder out of a newspaper as a first task and I was amazed by the kind of solutions that students came up with and it motivated me to go further. We started having a lot of those sessions and over 3,000 children were impacted through that programme,” explains Sudheer.
After the success and several sessions of the 7-day programme, Sudheer then decided to take it up a notch, adding his expertise in behavioural science and psychology, and initiated a year-long programme that became the parallel school.
“As a part of this, the children will have age-appropriate activities every Sunday, for a period of eight months, parallel to their academic year. These sessions teach financial management, critical thinking, art, zumba, yoga, crafts, in addition to dishing out assignments that trigger out-of-box thought process,” says Sudheer, adding, “Students also have sessions with a counsellor, wherein they can express themselves and get their issues addressed, as there are also sessions stress and anger management.”
At SUPAR, one of the crucial aspects taught is to handle failure. “Failure is not addressed the way it should be and it is the reason behind the high suicide rate among students. When I was in high school, a classmate of mine committed suicide and somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to address the issue of failure as a whole,” he recalls, adding that in his school, children were made to learn how to handle failure and go ahead instead of letting it pull them down.
“I want to play a role in achieving a zero-suicide-India and that is one of the major factors behind SUPAR,” concludes Sudheer.