Captured here are all the important events in the 25 glorious years of HLC. We've tried to capture all our challenges and obstacles, as well as the encouragement and recognitions we received along the way. We've also shared our thinking at different times. It will help you understand how extraordinary achievements have been possible by remaining learners ourselves and overcoming the hardest challenges that were thrown at us. The very high degree of fit - or congruence - among the various stakeholders at HLC has been the single biggest reason for our growth and our strength.
Headstart Nursery and Primary School starts with just 1 learner and 2 teachers in a house in Kottivakkam. Mrs. Sudha Mahesh, Founder and Principal, is one, and Mr. Maheswaran, Correspondent and Trustee, was the other.
Headstart Nursery and Primary School recognised amongst top 10 innovative schools in a poll. At this time, the school was functioning downstairs in a 3 bedroom house owned by Sudha aunty and Mahesh uncle. They lived upstairs... during the evenings and nights. Yes, during the day, one of the bedrooms upstairs would become a computer science room :)
Vidyothsahi Educational and Charitable Trust is registered
Our Founder Principal Sudha aunty is featured on the cover page of Eve's Touch magazine for her creative methodology of "learning through play" at Headstart Nursery and Primary School.
Our Founder Principal is invited by various fora to lead as well as conduct workshops on a variety of topics such as Mathematics and Early Childhood Education. She was the secretary for the Indian Association for Primary Education for a year. She has conducted workshops for many schools and organisations such as TN Forces, OMEIAT, Teacher Foundation and Wipro's Applying Thought. She has written numerous articles for The Hindu, Parents Edge, Adyar Times, Times Of India and other leading publications. She was also interviewed by Vijay TV, Jaya TV as well as Kalaignar TV in their breakfast shows to share her innovative thoughts on Early Childhood Education and Parenting.
Splash TV showcases 13 episodes on Songs for Children enacted by children of Headstart Nursery and Primary School.
Headstart Nursery and Primary School is registered by the Tamil Nadu Department Of Education
Headstart Nursery and Primary School rebrands as Headstart Learning Centre and moves to an additional location in Thoraipakkam. The house remains as Headstart Nursery and Primary School serving Kindergarten children alone.
Our dear Founder Principal Sudha Aunty is associated with Cambridge since 2006. First as an author of the "I Did It Mathematics" series of textbooks from grades KG to Grade 6 for Indian Publications and later as an International author. 3 million copies of her innovative textbooks have been published so far.
Headstart recognised the need to update parents via the web and adopts Google GSuite for Education.
Discussions began on how Headstart Learning Centre can be a centre of centres, enabling different verticals for learners to pursue and excel in. We had plans of Centre for the Arts, Centre for Music, Centre for Special Education Services, Centre for Public Problem Solving, Centre for Cognitive Sciences.
Headstart Learning Centre gave up the temporary location in Thoraipakkam and opens a beautiful learning centre at a new location in Karanai, south Chennai (our current location). We started to realise that a location for learning was less important than how we were enabling learners.
Elina, Headstart Learning Centre's first social incubation for inclusion is established in the new campus. This made HLC a unique space in the world where learners with mild, moderate as well as severe disabilities and neurotypical learners were learning in the same inclusive space. Ms. Ramalakshmi heads Elina today. Elina has spread its wings to individuals, experts as well as schools to make its dream of creating an inclusive society a reality. Ms. Ramalakshmi also consults with the Bhutan Government to set up inclusive practices in their schools. This initiative is through Perkins Foundation.
HLC International wins the Design For Change (DFC) Award, an award that is also sought by 299,999 other schools from across 33 different nations. The children felt the need to live plastic free; they imagined how they could bring about change in society; they went about making ZEI (Zero Environmental Impact) bags, shared their ideas by presenting them in other schools, convinced Principals of even more schools to spread awareness, made shoppers aware in our city's malls, and took many other smaller initiatives.
We applied and received Cambridge International Examination affiliation as HLC International (IN842) for Primary and High School examinations. Ms. Bindu heads the academic program at HLC.
Economic Times recognises HLC as the best new age school in Chennai.
Explorers, Headstart Learning Centre's social incubation for sporting integrity is established. Coach Ganesh Prabhu heads Explorers where over 200 sportspersons from more than a dozen communities undergo training in Basketball.
Kognify, Headstart Learning Centre's social incubation for Artificial intelligence powered online learning is established. Kognify's work focuses on data backed, researched and evidence based practices for enabling meaningful learning outcomes. Ms. Sarala leads Kognify at HLC. Kognify has reached over 50 schools and thousands of learners across India.
Ashoka Foundation, USA recognised Headstart Learning Centre as one of the first Ashoka Changemaker schools in India.
NIOS Affiliation - Headstart Learning Centre is the first School to be awarded NIOS affiliate status without CBSE or ICSE affiliation. All because of our cutting edge work in inclusion. Ms. Preethi Ramkumar leads all NIOS efforts at HLC. Dozens of NIOS learners seek HLC as their favourite examination centre because of the high quality support for subjects of their choice.
Karthavyam, Celebrating Local Heroes exhibition sees learners experience the true meaning of "success" and "delayed gratificaton" through the inspiring lives of local heroes - Ramnath Chandrasekhar, Dr. Satya Prema, K.S. Ramamurthy, Anantha Sayanan, Arun Krishnamurthy, Manohar Devadoss, Kannan L and Shoba Menon. This exhibition led to the inception of Karthavyam, HLC's diploma for Public Problem Solving.
Karthavyam, Headstart Learning Centre's social incubation for Public Problem Solving is funded by Ashoka Foundation for its pilot initiative. Along with Mr. Ramnath Chandrasekhar as resident faculty, Karthavyam was codeveloped and launched. Our middle and high school learners began to see themselves as problem solvers and "citizens" in a society that merely produces "consumers". Thought leaders Ms. Lakshmi, Ms. Aparna and Mr. Sriram lead the Karthavyam initiative. Hundreds of books, 8 board games, dozens of road shows and several prototypes have been developed and shared through this initiative. The board games were displayed in the Games For Change Festival in New York.
Our leaders Naveen and Raaji, were invited to address the Global Goals curriculum conference in Berlin, Germany.
Militvaa, Headstart Learning Centre's social incubation for social entrepreneurship is established. This incubation is led by Ms. Lakshmi, Ms. Aparna, Mr. Sriram, Ms. Sri Lakshmi along with many HLC learning facilitators and learners. Through Militvaa over Rs. 4 lakhs have been raised in 3 years from hundreds of learners. Militvaa also plays a key role in HLC adopting the ASSEFA Vidyalaya School in Pooriyambakkam and supporting through teacher training, library set up and other enrichment activities.
Ms. Ramalakshmi, Chief Convenor, Elina and Ms. Shanthi Rajesh, thought leader, Functional Curriculum, HLC are invited to present a research paper on the topic "School Environment and Its effect on inclusion" at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
The launch of HLC Square Gardens saw our children grow 300 varieties of native plants, 24 varieties of Paddy, more than 25 varieties of Greens and 9 varieties of millet, legumes and pulses, oil seeds, vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits. Shashvatam - our exhibition on sustainable practices welcomed over 3000 visitors, dozens of organisations focusing on sustainable practices, 100's of learners from various schools and renowned experts in Chennai and Pondicherry.
Naveen and Raaji set up a never heard before culture of thought leadership. 20 learning facilitators undergo mentoring and training to become leaders in their own rights. These thought leaders head various coordinated groups and also pursue their passions through the social incubations at HLC.
HLC is sought out by Ashoka Foundation to train mentors and leaders from Delhi Government schools. Over 100 mentors and leaders have visited HLC for the past 3 years to learn from our best practices.
After 15 years of work in reimagining education, HLC's thought leaders Mrs.Raaji and Mr.Naveen co-found Beyond 8, an alternative to education paradigm. Beyond 8 focuses its work in setting the wrong things right in the educational system by enabling passions and following a self-determined approach for learning.
Dec 2019 - Elina in partnership with Vidyasagar reaches out to government schools in Thiruvallur district to guide and promote inclusion through the project "Ellarum Ellamum" as part of Samagra Shiksha.
The Ministry of Education, Government of Luxembourg chooses HLC as a partner organisation for a student exchange program. Towards this, a team of facilitators from Luxembourg visit HLC to understand and learn from our best practices.
Harvard Graduate School of Education invites our thought leaders, Mr. Naveen and Mrs.Raaji, to present their vision of a reimagination of education, Beyond 8 at the Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusets, USA
Ashoka Foundation invites our leaders to Washington DC to meet and discuss Beyond 8 with their Founder, Bill Drayton.
Charter Schools of Minnesota invite our leaders to give a lecture on education at a town hall meeting organised for all Charter Schools in Minnesota. Similar conversations were scheduled in Vermont as well as in Seattle.
Ex Counsel General of Luxumbourg from India, invites our leaders to Luxumbourg to give talks at their schools and Universities on how we are reimagining the future of education and learning.
HLC Live is started in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, COVID-19. Using Google Classroom, Jamboard, Meet, Chat, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Kognify, HLC Live begins as a replacement for in-person learning. Surely, this will be added to our everyday in-person learning program in the post-COVID era, to enable our learners to learn remotely as well as be able to review the day's sessions back at home with live recordings..
An enriching and intense dream mapping program for 109 learners of Beyond 8 in HLC is launched.
The journey of changemaking continues...