At Richmond Marathi Shala, we strive to provide encouraging learning environment to develop an affinity towards Marathi language and culture.
Children learn the language while playing, during converstions and singing songs - and we enable them to provide opportunity to witness traditional celebrations and grasp the meaning of traditions by experience and discussions.
As the attending children progress through years, they should be able to:
Love for the language and culture is nurtured by dedicated volunteer teachers. Consistancy of instruction is maintained by using a curriculum developed on the basis of the county's foreign language curriculum guidelines.
We recognize that younger children love to mingle with older children - such opportunity is regularly available to them. We have also communicated with organizers of such schools in other cities/states to learn from their experience.
Each class begins with a prayer for Devi Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge. Children recite other shloks they have learned and currently learning. After that, they regroup at their ability level and the lessons begin. Teachers use appropriate teaching aids like - dice, coloring, flash cards, memory games and traditional games like "Shivaji Mhanato"
At appropriate levels, the vowels, alphabets, words and verbs are introduced. Circle time is used for enhancing conversational marathi. For comprehension, poems and stories are learned. The class ends with the Indian National Anthem.
We are mindful that our children are after all growing up in an environment and culture quite different from the one most of us grew up in. English is their first and therefore the language of their choice in all media of expression. It will be unrealistic for us to expect them to be good writers in Marathi. However, they can definitely be bilingual, trilingual or even quadrilingual, speaking English, Spanish (and/or French or German) and Marathi with equal ease.
We strongly believe that if we continue to interact with them in Marathi, at least partially, right from their early childhood, they will not only be able to speak Marathi effectively but speak it without heavy accent. They are also quite capable of learning the Devnagari script and read and write short essays, letters etc.
Although Richmond Marathi Shala is based on the above beliefs, we also know (now from experience) that meeting the children for an hour every week is simply not enough to achieve the above goals. Hence, we strongly urge and earnestly request all parents who share these objectives with us, to maintain a good level of Marathi content in their daily home conversations.