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PARIJATH-CHILDREN’S WORKSTATION IN THE CANCER INSTITUTE

The Cancer Institute was founded in 1954 by Dr. S. Muthulakshmi Reddy, India’s first woman graduate in medicine. The Institute has a dedicated Children’s Ward where children diagnosed with cancers undergo treatment and recuperation. A large number of children from low income backgrounds receive free or subsidised treatment at this facility.

Children constitute a small yet significant percentage of cancer patients in most treatment facilities. Although there are numerous forms of childhood cancers (ranging from common cancers such as leukaemia and brain tumours to rare lymphomas and other cancers), their treatment is often more successful in children than in adults and many young patients recover to lead a normal life. It is therefore important that suitable developmental activities are encouraged both as a form of diversion from the disease and its treatment as well as a form of education.

In comparison to other conventional educational systems, the Montessori Method may be most suited to children undergoing treatment on account of its flexibility. This method directly addresses:

  • The developmental needs of the child at every stage of growth
  • Helps them become independent at various levels along with academic inputs.
It is flexible and caters to the learning styles of every individual child and allows the child to work at his own pace and sustains his innate interest in learning. Besides individual work, the child is given the opportunity to participate in group and collective activities.

This project aims to develop a Montessori environment for children at the Cancer Institute, Chennai. By setting up such an environment at the Cancer Institute we aim to provide the following specific opportunities to the child:
  • for motor development
  • for sensory learning
  • to stimulate mental activity through the work with hands, leading to intellectual development
  • to calm the mind through activity
  • to develop a sense of well being through active participation in the work
  • to be motivated to take up tasks through seeing other children work
  • to create a positive attitude within herself/himself and the family
  • to have a different routine from the health related treatment and therefore serve as a therapy
At CMT- C we realise the therapeutic value of the Montessori Method and have been using pedagogy as an additional support to cure ailments.

The Montessori environment at the Cancer Institute in the Children’s Ward is a support system to enhance the possibilities of creating positive attitudes and development not only for children, but also for parents. For parents, seeing their child being active in spite of his/her illness within the hospital is a morale boosting factor and gives them confidence and hope.

Kalvi Trust for Research and Education has set up the Montessori environment at the Institute and has provided Teachers to run the establishment. The environment was inaugurated on 14 November 2007 and is functioning at present.
 
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