CASCADE MONTESSORI RURAL RESOURCE CENTRE IN VALLAMBEDUKUPPAM
Vallambedukuppam is a village that is about 5kms from a place called Elavur, well connected by sub-urban trains and buses. There are share autos from Elavur to this village where the primary occupation is farming for many and fishing for some. People speak Tamil here and most of them have been living in this village for generations. One of the highlights of this centre is the adult who heads it. Paranthaman has been working with us for the past 7 years and is well trained in 3 to 6 Montessori philosophy by veteran trainers in the field, through our Teachers Lab initiative. While he had been part of several of our Projects in the past, we always wanted him to do something for his village people. It took several sittings for us to convince him to start something near to his village. Finally, we zeroed in on Vallambedukuppam after visiting few other places. We took a place on rent and modified it to an extent to meet our requirements.
Unlike Jamunamarathur where we have settlers from different parts of the state, Vallambedukuppam has very less percentage of such people. When Paranthaman went around the village talking about the centre, people were thrilled about it. So, when we called for a parents meeting to talk about the centre and its goals, it was well attended by several people. We are convinced that a local youth can attract the community better than an outsider. Today, this centre has a section for 2 to 6 year old children in the morning and functions as a full-fledged Montessori environment. We also have a section for 6 years and above children in the evening who come and use the resource centre very similar to our Jamunamarathur centre.
Admission has never been a problem in this centre because we keep receiving enquiries from parents. The difference this centre is making in the lives of children has reached in and around villages that people from Balwadis, a Government initiative for small children, visited our centre to observe the method of education and found it very interesting.
Some of the major highlights of this project are:
Regular parents' circle conducted by the main adult where a book by Dr. Maria Montessori is discussed in detail. Parents actively participate
A weaving centre for both children and parents. A weaver visits the centre monthly twice on Saturdays and demonstrates to them some of the skills of weaving by actively involving them.Children also come on that day. They also practice it during weekdays with support provided by the main adult and assistant, as required
A regular toilet with septic tank. We have let out a micro-organism inside the septic tank that multiplies and keeps the water clean. The water from the septic tank, whenever it overflows, is let out in the garden and is not wasted. We do not use chemicals to clean the toilets as it would kill the micro-organism
The centre strives hard to inculcate a culture of prioritizing education for children among parents. When education becomes the priority, all the other social evils will automatically vanish. Relief Foundation sees Education as a means for community development.
Some of the attractions in and around this village are:
Green Fields with cultivation
Pazhaverkadu birds sanctuary (Local birds and Flamingoes are major attraction during seasonal migration)
Visit other project:
In Jamunamarathur village in Jawadhu Hills, Thiruvannamalai District.