Sophia Opportunity School Bangalore
Sophia Opportunity School was envisaged and begun in 1972 by Sister Joelle, SND and has been continued by the dedicated work of more Sisters of Notre Dame and their collaborators. The school began in a humble way with just four students in one of the rooms then available. With the growing number of students classes were conducted in the basement of an old building. Gradually, as the school built up a reputation in the field of rehabilitation of children with special needs, the increasing number of students made it necessary to build a school spacious enough. Now there are more applicants than can be accommodated, and a continuous need for improvement to the facilities and equipment.
The School now has 162 students ranging from three years to twenty years of age who have special learning needs with multiple disabilities: dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, Down syndrome, mild autism, mild to moderate mental retardation and the like. They are in a safe caring environment with individualized teaching methods to enable students to thrive.
The aim, goal and objective of Sophia Opportunity School is to help intellectually-challenged or differently-abled children, providing opportunities and education for those who are emotionally, intellectually, physically, economically and spiritually less privileged in any or all vicissitudes of life. Our preferential love is for the poor.
Principals of Sophia Opportunity School
Sophia Opportunity School strives to achieve its aim to support every differently-abled child to reach his/her maximum potential to be a contributing member in society.
The academic subjects include those of a more practical nature necessary for day-to-day living, such as reading, writing, number work, time concept, money value, social studies, and environmental science. Certain concepts that are necessary for understanding the world are made easier to understand through projects and exhibits.
Daily Living Skills (DLS)
Realizing the importance of DLS, they are made part of the everyday curriculum. Skills such as eating, brushing, grooming, dressing and toileting are included in our educational goals. Top priority is given to helping children become independent in self-help skills, the very skills parents want the children to achieve.
Sophia Opportunity School strives to attain holistic integration for all our students by providing opportunities and meaningful experiences in all areas of development. Children are encouraged to participate and compete with students of Sophia High School in various activities and sports. The S.O.S children commute to school along with the children of Sophia High School.
Our children especially enjoy music classes where they sing and dance. The therapeutic effects of music help to soothe one’s mind which aids in better concentration and increases the attention span of children.
A full time speech therapist works with the children to enable them to better express their thoughts and feelings through words. Considering the fact that the majority of our children have difficulty processing spoken language, rigorous training is given in the speech room to help these children overcome their communication problems.
A full-time physiotherapist works with our children to keep them physically fit. The therapy aims at helping the children to explore the effects of balance and movement of their bodies and gain equilibrium. Trampolines, slides, roller skates, balance beams and objects to climb in and out and through are provided to help. Therapy is initiated as early as possible for best results.
Occupational Therapy is a skilled treatment that helps children to achieve independence in all facts of life. They work in areas like fine motor skills, visual deviation, behavior, play skills, social skills, visual perception and so forth.
Computered/Smart Board Assisted Education
Introduction of computers has been a great asset for our staff and students. Education has been simplified yet enhanced through CD’s and various other projects. 30 computers are installed in the computer lab to cater to the needs of the children. Computers set a great challenge to young minds and thus the benefits derived are abundant. Every day an hour is given to each class to work independently on the computers, under the guidance of their teachers.
We thank Sophia High School for being very generous to donate a smart board for the special children. Teachers also integrate teaching with the digital technology, smart board to enhance teaching-learning fun and effective. Thus learning is more fun and satisfying as they work on their own.
Open School Exams
Our children who are academically inclined appear for the 7th standard Karnataka National Open School Board Exam and have passed.
Dance and Movement Therapy
All the children in our school experience dance and movement therapy sessions on a weekly basis. These sessions not only provide a time for children to have fun and feel accepted unconditionally in a safe environment, but also helps them to let go of their self-consciousness. Goals for each group are based on their immediate needs –emotional, cognitive and physical. They include enhancing awareness of themselves and others, improving self-esteem, encouraging emotional expression, teamwork, improving impulse control and relaxation of mind and body among many others.
Yoga and Perceptual Exercises
Perceptual training is given in five visual perceptual abilities. Yoga therapy and training in perceptual abilities are carefully geared to a well-rounded program that takes into account the child’s total development.
Different perceptual and yoga exercises are introduced every month, as formulated by the teachers at the beginning of each academic year. With continuous repetition the children gain mastery over these exercises, and perform well. Movement is involved in every action of one’s living; these exercises aid good movement. Proficiency in yoga and perceptual exercises also help students to develop skills that are necessary for success in schoolwork.
Vocational Training is initiated as early as possible by introducing pre-vocational skills that can lead to vocational possibilities for the students. Teachers assist students in developing vocabulary, communication skills, motor skills, motivation, cleanliness, punctuality, and ethics. The school has implemented a career education cum placement concept by introducing older students to a vocation, to aid the mainstreaming process. The school imparts individualized training that emphasizes direct observation, measurement of vocational responses and repeated assessments. Vocational training aims at acquisition, maintenance and transfer of skills which can lead to self-employment.
Canteen: Children learn the basic kitchen skills in the canteen. They also learn to sell items.
Students learn to sew small items like aprons, pouches, and handkerchiefs, and they learn to do embroidery and needlework. These articles are available for purchase. These skills help prepare children to be self-employed.
Our children participate with Sophia High School in sports. This is a good opportunity for our children to compete. They try their best, and win laurels for themselves and for our school. Mass demonstrations, sprints, relays, march past and other novelty activities are an excellent challenge for our children.
For the first time, our senior students have participated in shuttle relay with the senior girls of Sophia High School and won the second prize, which encouraged the special children to be more self-confident and persistent.
We have participated with the Special Students of Bethany Opportunity School in relay and in dance competition and have won the first prize.
Basketball has been introduced and the team competed with Cluny Opportunity Team. Such opportunity not only generates in the students the spirit of sportsmanship and cooperation as well as healthy competition, but also the energy to be active in the course of the day. Children are encouraged to participate in interschool competition such as drawing, painting, dancing, relay, basketball and the like. These activities build up their confidence and develop a competitive spirit in them.
For the first time our children are also part of Sophia School Band both Junior and senior. Such integration not just enables them to be confident in what they are, but also helps to identify themselves with others. Catechism and moral instruction classes are made part of the curriculum. Children learn to get more in touch with God.
Field visits are a regular feature of Sophia Opportunity School. These visits ensure that children have the opportunity to relate what they learn in their classrooms to what they view and experience in the outside world. Visits to the post office, railway station, bus stand, hospital, supermarket, restaurant, park, places of worship, cinema theatre, shopping mall and other public places ensure that children get maximum exposure in the community.
Children paint beautiful greeting cards for various occasions. It is a good vocation wherein an older student can be self-employed.
Informal & formal exchange of information
Our staff meets at regular intervals to evaluate and exchange ideas. Staff members take turns preparing seminars on topics relevant to special education. Professionals in the field are invited to share their expertise with the staff and parents to enable them to understand their children better. Also, regular parent-teacher meetings are held, with broad interaction and exchange of ideas.
The Principal and the staff work in collaboration to help develop courage and confidence in the parents of our children.
The following are the various approaches in this regard
1. Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)- The PTA functions in a well-planned way in our school. PTA meetings are held at the beginning and the end of every academic year, and every three months. All the parents collaborate and participate in all activities of the school.
2. Home Visits- Our school personnel visit the home of every student, which is part of the managerial practice. The child is observed in the domestic setting, which aids the staff to guide the parent in the correct methods of therapy.
3. Counseling Sessions- Individual parental counseling is conducted every Saturday throughout the academic year. Parents warmly and positively react to these sessions. The staff gets a clearer insight into the concerns of the parent and can give productive counsel.
4. Maintenance of Records- The BASIC-MR and other assessment methods are used with our children quarterly. These reports are well maintained and a copy is given to each parent at the end of the academic year.
5. Seminars and Workshops- Formal and informal exchange of knowledge takes place during the seminars and workshops regularly conducted throughout the academic year. The parents orient themselves with the latest technology and recent methods of rehabilitation.
The FUTURE depends on each one of us! What can you, what can I, what can who, what can we do to enable Sophia Opportunity School to provide maximum opportunities for the maximum number of students at our school.
Sophia Opportunity School
Parents Day 2013
Every child is special and Sophia Opportunity School brings out that specialty from each child. One of the occasions wherein we realized our students ability is ‘Parents day’ introduced in 2012 under the guidance of Sr. Prabha, our Principal. Parents Day 2012 was a great start to begin with; however, Parents day 23rd February 2013 was a fabulous event to move further for greater performance.
The Chief Guest, the Power Star of Karnataka, Puneeth Rajkumar, and Mrs. Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar his wife, was invited. The function began by lighting of the lamp during which Ujjawalika Singh, an autistic student, sang ‘Asatoma Sadgamaya’. The entertainment began with an action song ‘You are my Sunshine’ where the little children were dressed like beautiful flowers. The choir with the participation of 17 students sang to the tunes ‘Thank You Lord’ and ‘One small Voice’
There were 5 cultural selected folk music representing five states Kerala, Goa, Tamil- Nadu, Goa, Punjab and Rajasthan and each state was portrayed with their respective folk dances. The costumes drew attention and added finishing touch to the dances. The junior children dressed as local rowdy gang also performed a show tapping dance on the song ‘Tie Tie Phys’ which was rocking performance. There was Shreyas (ADHD child) aged 14 years sang a karaoke on the song ‘Challa’ without even a miss in tune’.
Then it was the musical drama ‘Punyakoti’ on the Literary Pageant concept with the moral ‘truth and honesty.’ The program was so mesmerizing that it brought tears in everyone’s eyes with the splendid performances from Suprem (Tiger), Sabina (cow), Riva (calf) and Vinod (Shepherd) and other children dressed as trees, and sheep. The props were stunning. It was literally an effort by the senior teachers that made the program touch our hearts.
Mr. Puneeth Tajkumar was enthralled at the performance of the students and appreciated Sr. Prabha, staffs and students and encouraged us with his inspiring speech. He also sang the song ‘Ninindale’ and danced to his favourite dance number ‘Kanadanthe’. Everyone was pleased with his wholehearted participation with the children.
It was a pleasure to have the presence of Sister Sandhya, the Provincial Superior and other Sisters. We also had a representative from Fame India and the Principal of Bethany Opportunity School. This program not only brought a new light in the eyes of Parents about how their children have improved in every aspect but also encouraged them to realize that there is nothing impossible in the eyes of God.
Parents day 2013 was one of the most memorable events ever happened in the history of Sophia Opportunity School. We thank our Heavenly Father for His abundance of love and blessings upon us. Special thanks to Sr. Prabha, and the Management for their constant encouragement, the staff for their tireless efforts and the students for their beautiful performances. Above all, Glory and Praise to the Lord, Almighty, for His miracles and blessings in our lives.
Sophia Opportunity School
70 Palace Road, High Grounds, Bangalore 560 001,
Karnataka, India, Ph: 080-22205683.