The campus of GMC, Gopalapuram, is located in the heart of the Chennai city, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Avvai Shanmugam Salai, with a rather broad and long walkway. This walkway provides the much needed invigorating walk from the gate to the school building, to the children, every morning and is also a secure spot for parents to pick up the children in the afternoons. The walkway is made interesting for the children with murals covering the walls and a variety of plants.
The entrance of the building sports a pleasant and ethnic, Kerala-style tiled roof portico.
The front office is a spacious, welcoming space, exuding warmth and care. It is here that everyone who enters GMC, is welcomed and their needs attended to, by our gracious administrative staff.
The Montessori classrooms are housed in the ground floor and the Kindergarten classrooms are housed in the first floor of the building. The staircase is built with low steps and fitted with handrail at two different heights – one at normal height for adults, and the other at a lower height for young children, as an added safety feature, and to facilitate independent climbing by young children. All the rooms in the school building are spacious, well-ventilated, well-lit and fitted with air conditioners for use during the many hot months of Chennai.
Early Years Library
The library, also situated in the first floor, houses books, carefully curated, exclusively for the early years readers. Apart from the very best of children’s literature from India and the world over, there are also a host of resources for teachers’ professional development and parenting. Children are taken to the library regularly by their teachers during school hours, not only to access and read the books there, but are also familiarized with the library etiquettes. The library is open to children accompanied by their parents, during non-working hours, to borrow books, not only for the children but also for their parents.
Indoor Movement Studio
The Indoor Movement Studio, housed in the second floor of the building, is a unique space that has been created with the understanding, that body and mind have a deep correlation, especially in the rapid developmental early years of a child. Brain development in the early years is highly dependent on the variety, levels of challenge and number of opportunities for movement. Our trained movement instructor, uses several personalized techniques to meet the needs of individual children. The studio aids gross motor and fine motor development, refines bodily equilibrium and strengthens both muscular and nervous systems of the child.
The sick room or infirmary is situated in the ground floor, furnished with a few beds and first-aid material. Any child who takes ill while in school, or has any other form of physical exigency is immediately transferred to the infirmary, till a parent who is informed immediately, is able to pick up the child.
The Audio-Visual Room
The audio-visual room is a multi-purpose room in the first floor, equipped with an interactive panel, LCD overhead projector and a microphone system, large enough to accommodate 80 individuals. This space is used for hosting parent orientations, parent awareness programs, talks by eminent speakers, teachers professional development programs and other workshops. This facility is used for providing visual-learning content to children in addition to the hands-on learning happening in classrooms. Guest speakers, both from parents and otherwise, like dentists, police personnel, dancers, story-tellers, make presentations to and interact with the children in this space.
The outdoor area situated both in the front of and behind the school building within the campus, offers scope for children to play, and also, engage with nature.
The dedicated play area has an outdoor multi play-station housed on a sand pit, where children can climb, jump, slide and play in the sand. The children are supported by the teachers, in playing together, practicing social courtesies, like taking turns, giving way, exercising patience and in general being mindful of others. The walkway in front of the building doubles up as running tracks during working hours. The large open ground behind the building is an ideal place for free play – just running wild, kicking a ball around and simply having fun.
There is a wealth of research to support that engagement with and exploration in nature, has long-lasting positive benefits on the cognitive, physical and emotional well-being of the child. The garden at GMC, houses a variety of flora – hibiscus, ixora, oleander, Dracena song of India, spider plant, Syngonium, and several others. There are also potted herbs, like, basil, mint, Indian borage and others. The garden is lovingly nurtured by our gardener anna whom the children enjoy observing. Children are regularly taken for nature walks and introduced to the sensorial experiences of nature. Each class houses potted plants that are cared for by the children, thus awakening a sense of responsibility in them, towards their natural environment. Children engage in activities like weeding and watering plants. Children also get opportunities to sow seeds and see them sprouting.
The Specially Fitted Restrooms
Restrooms are a very important space in a school, especially for the early years. Most young children need reassurance and a sense of security to be able to use restrooms outside their homes, especially in the absence of their parents.
In GMC, restrooms are situated in between every two adjacent classrooms, along with a spacious dressing room. There are separate toilet spaces for boys and girls. The restrooms are specially designed for independent use by the children, with child-sized, low toilets and urinals, and wash-basins at a low height. Personal hygiene is a very important aspect of learning for young children. The teachers and the support staff, guide the children towards good hygiene practices and also restroom etiquettes. All essential supplies like hand towels, liquid hand-wash and tissues are provided.
The dressing room, is fitted with cubbies at the height of the children. Each child has an individual cubby and they store their bags and other belongings in their cubby. The school maintains extra sets of clothing for each child, neatly labelled for identification, in this space, to be used as and when required. This space is also fitted with a long low bench on which children may sit down and rest when they choose to, or sit down to take off or wear their clothes.
Safety and Security
In GMC, safety and security of the children is given top priority. The gates of the campus are manned by security personnel at all times. The campus is fitted with closed-circuit cameras, both outside and within the building. The building is fitted with fire extinguishers for use in case of fire incidents. Children are received at the gate every morning, by the teaching staff. There are stringent regulations and systems in place with regard to the children arriving after the gates have been shut, and also for leaving the campus thereafter. The children are always under the supervision of either the teaching staff or the non-teaching staff throughout their time in the campus. When being taken out of the campus on field-trips, a robust ratio of children to staff is ensured.