Hippocampus Reading Foundation

To promote reading for underprivileged children through the creation of libraries and librarian training. To change the way children learn in rural India through education centres that are run after school hours To create livelihood opportunities for young women in villages through teacher training.
Aug 4, 2014

A Journey of Growth and Learning

Reciting stories
Reciting stories

HLC started in Kyathanahalli village in Mandya in 2011. The first year was not encouraging, with just 17 children in a village as big as Kyathanahalli. However, the management, HLC staff and the teacher Latha didn’t lose hope. They started to work proactively within the community and included them in the celebrations and other programs organized by the company.

2012 was the start of the growth story. With children in the previous year showing strong learning outcomes and added effort at enrollment by the teacher, the number of children increased by 100% to 34 children and a second teacher was added. By 2014, the enrollment has grown to 74 children with 4 teachers. The growth rate gave insights of how it would be in coming years not only in Kyathanahalli but across other centres too. This success story is largely due to effective community involvement by the teachers and the learning outcomes of the children.

Latha is today the Centre Leader effectively managing the Centre and the 3 other teachers who work with her. Parents take pride in their children, since they are ahead of their peers studying in other schools and proudly participate in all programs organized by HLC. The teachers too are happy for the teaching opportunity provided, that gives them great recognition within their community and for the continuous training provided by HLC that enables them to get better every year.

Hadadi is a village in Davanagere district of Karanataka where HLC started the preschool in 2012 with only 18 children. Lakshmi was the first teacher selected from the community and trained by HLC . Initially the community was not very supportive, because they felt that we were wasting the childrens’ time by teaching through play and other materials that were very different from what they knew. It took two years for the community to appreciate the change in their children and the way they learn. In 2013 numbers increased to 42 children and two more teachers Kalavathi and Geetha joined to take care of different age levels. With the teachers growing in skill through the training they receive and the children enjoying the fun and activity based learning, HLC is today a vital part of the Hadadi community with 62 children enrolled in 2014.

These are just two stories of success as we celebrate the 4th year of HLC with preschools now running in 125 villages in 3 Districts of Mandya, Davangere and Shimoga, with 4000 children enrolled and 250 young local women selected and trained to be preschool teachers. Slowly but steadily HLC is moving towards its dream of taking good quality preschool education to rural India and at the same time creating a pool of talented teachers who are strongly committed to improving the education in their communities.

Thank you for your support that makes our work possible.

Learning Rhymes
Learning Rhymes
Chennapura Centre Students and Teachers
Chennapura Centre Students and Teachers
Apr 25, 2014

Highlights From The Last Quarter

MathSTAR students in the village of Iguru
MathSTAR students in the village of Iguru

Dear Friends,

Our third year has come to a close and on a high note. In the last month all our 104 Centres celebrated Annual Days where the children proudly showcased their learning and talents. These events were well supported by the community and became village events where not just our parents but the entire community attended. Our Parent Teacher sessions at the end of the month too were a success. Parents expressed happiness at their children’s learning and the interest and confidence in learning they have gained. They expressed great support for the preschool program.

Another highlight has been the success of the after school programs. We had shared with you in our January report about the launch of the after-school English and Math program for children in grades 1 to 7. Much has been written and reported on the crisis with primary level math learning in India. For the past few years, the team at Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) has been innovating solutions to help primary level children in rural India bridge the enormous learning gaps they face in Math. The aim is to build accuracy, speed and a sense of confidence in children so that they can be successful at Math as they move to higher grades.

As mentioned in our last report, in late July 2013, HLC launched MathSTAR in the Davangere and Mandya districts of Karnataka with the goal to bridge a 2-year learning gap in less than 1 year. The program was initially offered in 7 villages, to children in Classes 1-6 who were enrolled in full-time government or private schools in their villages. These are villages where we already have Centres that run the Kindergarten programs during the day, enabling us to save on separate centre set up costs by using the same space for the after school programs. These are also villages where the Hippocampus name is already synonymous with good learning.

After the students completed their personalized workbooks in 15 weeks, we tested them using the same test they took at the start of the program. Every single one of the 204 students showed great improvement.

An example is Shrinidhi, a Class 5 student in a school in the village of Iguru. A few years ago, Shrinidhi fell behind in her Math class at school. As she advanced into higher grades, she found that her troubles with Math didn’t go away- instead, they became bigger and bigger until finally she reached Class 5 and was terrified of Math.

Encouraged by her parents, Shrinidhi enrolled in Hippocampus’ MathSTAR program that had just launched in the village. On entrance into the program, Shrinidhi was tested for concepts she should have known in Class 3. She scored a 28% on the test. Shrinidhi then completed 1 term of the MathSTAR program. In 15 weeks, she re-took the same test and scored a 73%.

Today Shrinidhi has re-enrolled in the MathSTAR program for a second term. Her fear of Math is going and the time she spends at the Hippocampus Learning Centre is the bright spot in her day as she tackles newer concepts with excitement.

Assessments done at end of term 1 across all 7 villages show that students across Classes 1 to 6 showed an improvement in the range of 27% to 44%. No student showed a decreased performance. The sharpest increase was seen in Class 1 and 2 students, who showed a 43% and 44% improvement respectively.

Across all classes, students who scored between 0-40% on the entrance test showed the most improvement at the mid-term test, proving that the program most effectively helps children who have large learning gaps.

Encouraged by the success of this program, in December 2013 we increased the reach of the MathSTAR program to a total of 24 villages where we currently have 478 children enrolled.
In the coming months, we are looking forward to spreading the reach of this program to 50 plus villages, helping more than 1000 students build confidence in Math and then on to offering it in every village where we run the Kindergarten programs.

Thank you as always for your belief in our work and your support which makes our work possible.

Lily

MathSTAR teacher Ashwini in Thurchgatta Centre
MathSTAR teacher Ashwini in Thurchgatta Centre
Mar 18, 2014

Learning - The Hippocampus Way

At Hippocampus our endeavor is to provide a vibrant and healthy learning environment for our children so that the knowledge they gain helps them excel in higher classes and future workspaces.

This is reflected in our education philosophy which seeks to build the “learning to learn” skills in children, recognized by experts as essential and crucial to their success, making them self-learners.

We describe a  self-learner as one who is able to extend what he has learnt, to do something new by himself

 Self-learning thus gives a child tremendous confidence and the ability to face new environments and respond to new stimuli without fear making them confident, happy individuals.

This was evident at The Hippocampus Annual day program– a platform created to encourage our children to showcase their learning to their families and other members of the communities ,who supported the event with their participation making it a resounding success.

Each year the community participates both financially and in spirit by turning up in large numbers making it a celebrated event in the village. A key highlight this year was an exhibition of the children’s work during the year put together by them in the form of projects. On display were projects created and presented by the children on 21 themes that represented various aspects of their curriculum. Visitors were impressed with the oratory skills of our children who explained the concepts confidently.

The main program also saw the students host a show that comprised skits, role plays, recitations based on what they had learnt during the year.

This was thus the culmination of another satisfying year, heralding the start of a new , promising one with plans of adding in more centres, reaching out to more children and moving slowly but surely in the direction of the change we intend to bring about .

We have initiated the process of enrolments for the new academic year already and will be provide an update in the next 2-3 months on the number of children who will benefit from the scholarship funds raised through your generous contributions.

Thank You all once again for your support.

Warm Regards

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