The school operates from Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
In case of a special event or workshop, school shall function on a Saturday.
Any change of school timings shall be proactively communicated by the school.
2) What should I know and understand before I decide to send my child to Yellow Train School?
Yellow Train is an alternate school that follows Waldorf pedagogy. The main philosophy of the school is to honour and protect the wonder of childhood. Every effort is made to make the learning environment safe, secure and nurturing for children.
Waldorf curriculum has a profound philosophy of child development underlying the curriculum. All subjects are introduced in an age- appropriate fashion.
3) What are the subjects taught in primary?
The main focus during the primary years are as follows:
Skills and music
Various forms of art like form drawing, wet-on-wet water color painting, clay modelling
Movement, Structured sports and physical education
Language Arts (Tamil, Hindi)
The emphasis during the early years is on building the child’s confidence in Reading, Creative and copy writing and number sense. The pace of the academics may seem slow , but the goal is to build good rhythm and strengthen the foundation in alignment with the Waldorf pedagogy. Apart from the above subjects, there are specialized subjects like nature stories, house building, gardening, geography and botany which are taught practically and lay a strong foundation to future study of specialized subjects in middle school.
4) What is the syllabus followed in the primary years? Will the children have text books
Our primary years curriculum is designed in-house and that follows Waldorf Pedagogy. The respective class teachers and subject teachers are deeply involved in the designing and delivery of the curriculum. We do not use any prescribed text books. The children will have their own English readers which will be provided by the school.
5) What does the curriculum look like in Primary years?
Language Arts (English/Second Language)
Oral communication is encouraged through a lot of story telling. Writing is taught first. The children discover Alphabets through Art. Writing evolves through Art; reading follows and evolves effortlessly. Children read simple words and sentences phonetically from their Main Lesson books by the end of Grade 1.
Reading is strengthened in Grade 2 and a school reader is usually prescribed and used at the end of Grade 2.
The children are introduced to Grammar only by the end of Grade 2.
By end of Grade 3, Language proficiency is established with good creative writing skills, strong vocabulary and Grammar.
In the Upper Primary years, skills in English is strengthened further with stories from Mythology and exploration of the Local Geography. With Second Languages, the focus is on building conversation skills, ability to read, write simple sentences, good vocabulary and pronunciation.
The focus on the initial years is on understanding numbers, patterns and the four operations. Math is taught kinesthetically using materials from nature and with a lot of movements. The foundation is strengthened with practice and repetition.
Math in upper primary focuses on Application and higher order thinking skills. Fractions, decimals and proportions are introduced and strengthened with practice and repetition.
Science is introduced through nature stories and activities which brings the child’s attention to the world around. We begin with folk tales about the four elements in nature and progress to the four seasons. In Grade 3, children are introduced to farming, house building and professions of trade.
Life sciences are introduced through study of the animal kingdom (Zoology) and plant kingdom(Botany). Children’s interest is kindled with comparison between traits of humans and animals and strong emphasis is laid on observation and recording skills. This sets a solid foundation required for the middle years where they will be introduced to the physical sciences as well.
6) When do the children start reading and writing in the school?
The children at our kindergarten are completely focused on play and are first introduced to Reading and writing in Grade 1. Oral communication is encouraged through a lot of story telling through the kindergarten and Grade 1. Writing is taught first. The children discover Alphabets through art, which is how our letter forms evolved out of pictographs. Writing evolves out of art; reading follows and evolves effortlessly.
7) What is the homework policy of the school?
Home work is designed for various reasons – for deepening their understanding, for independent practice, for developing speed, for self-learning possibilities, for creative expression and sometimes for shared time between parent and child. The nature of each homework, its objective and expected outcomes could therefore vary.
The work sent is of the expected grade level and children are expected to work on it independently. However, if the child’s personal capacity is lower than the expected grade level, then the homework will need parent’s supervision and support. Parents are expected to take responsibility and ensure the child completes the work and honours submission timelines
8) How does a typical day look in the primary grades at Yellow Train?
The children usually arrive between 8:00 AM and 8:15 AM and have breakfast at the school. The children have Free play right after breakfast and the school day starts at 8:40 AM. The children are greeted by the teacher followed by a class circle with age appropriate movement, music, songs and verses.
The academic day starts with what we call the “Main lesson” where one topic from one subject will be taught everyday for 2 – 4 weeks (block system). Main Lesson is followed by a lesson from the skills or Arts curriculum, followed by a practice Block where children practice concepts from subjects other than the main lesson subject. The day ends with another lesson from the Language arts, skills or Arts curriculum and a closing circle
9) How does the school assess the children? Will they sit for exams? Will they be provided a Rank or a Grade?
Assessment of every child is an on-going process and it involves both academic and non-academic curriculum. Each block has a learning goal.
At the end of every block, in the last week, children will be assessed against these goals through a review.
Reviews are designed to have a realistic understanding of where one stands with respect to many areas and is a very helpful tool in measuring the progress. Our term end reviews include not only the academic subjects, but handwork, social behavior, etc., Children go through the reviews without the stress of the ‘examination’. Reviews are application oriented, creative and reflect what the child has ‘learnt’, not ‘studied’ and therefore we neither announce the dates not require the parent to prepare the child.
The performance in the reviews is shared with the parent and the child at the end of every term unless there is a need otherwise.
There is no ranking or grading system
10) How will my child’s progress be measured?
The child’s progress is of interest to both the school and the parents. The progress is usually measured against the benchmark the child sets for from him/herself. There is an age appropriate level and the term end report will reflect where the child stands with regards to the age appropriate level. There is no ranking or grading system and the children are never compared to other children in the class.
11) Is Yellow Train an Inclusive school? Will the school diagnose behavioral challenges? What would be the procedure?
Yellow Train is a school that strives to be Inclusive. We accept children of all backgrounds, races, languages, physical abilities and learning capabilities who can function successfully in a classroom environment and where the school believes that the child will benefit from being part of an inclusive setup. Parents play a very important role in this journey.
12) How does the school deal with children who are not strong academically or children who are gifted?
The school does not categorize or discriminate children based on whether they are gifted or slow. A child’s weakness in one area, whether academic or physical is usually balanced with strengths in another area. The teacher strives to identify the child’s strengths and work closely with the parents to support the child. It is important to understand that it is the responsibility of the parents as much as it is of the school to support the child with any difficulty, he/she might be facing. A child having a difficulty might be given extra support by the teacher and parents. Correspondingly, a child who excels might be given special tasks to work on or might be asked to help a child who is having trouble.
13) What is the sports program for the primary years?
The sports program for primary years at Yellow Train school is focused on building social and pre-game skills and sportsmanship. A lot of emphasis is on movement, rhythm and collaborative games. We do not encourage competitive and structured sports and do not take our children to inter school and competitive meets until the end of Grade 5. In Grade 5, the children get introduced to individual structured games and prepare to participate in the Waldorf Olympics, which will be their first ever inter school event.
14) Is it true that if you start schooling in a Waldorf school, it is difficult to fit into other schools??
A transition from a Waldorf school to a mainstream school can potentially be difficult, especially in the lower grades, because of the significant differences in the pacing of the curriculum and the teaching methodologies. A grade 3 child from a Waldorf school could be much further in reading and arithmetic compared to a grade 3 child from a main stream school, but may not know as much information about the sciences. But with a little support from parents, children usually transition without much issues.
15) Are transitions from Main stream schools to Yellow Train School difficult?
The transition from a mainstream school to Yellow train school is usually easier in the lower grades than in the higher grades. While the children from mainstream school cope well socially, they do take time to adjust to the Yellow Train method of teaching and may struggle with catching up with subjects and some skills.
From our prior experiences, we understand that alternate system of Education may not meet the expectations and needs of all families. While some children may be academically proficient, they may face difficulty in adjusting with the Yellow Train method of teaching or fitting into the culture of the school. While every effort is made to help the child settle down and fit in, we do a review with the parent at the end of the year to relook at the engagement keeping in mind the best interest of the child.