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A week in the life of the New Creation school, Auroville, south India

As part of an enlightening link between New Creation and Seddlescombe C of E primary in East Sussex, Seddlescombe deputy head Valerie Richardson spent 12 days in India at the beginning of 2002.

New Creation is a school for Tamil children in villages surrounding Auroville, a city set up in 1968, inspired by the Indian seer Sri Aurobindo.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, centred on a joint project about light, Seddlescombe pupils prepared materials for the Indian children including poems on light, and paintings and drawings of fireworks. They made dolls and dressed them in school uniform, and drew pictures of British food and flora.

New Creation pupils made shadow puppets and dolls, and conducted experiments, splitting light with a mirror and water, for example.

Mrs Richardson says a New Creation teacher is due to make a reciprocal trip to East Sussex in July, and she hopes the project will last beyond that. The benefits of the exchange cut both ways, with both sets of pupils learning a great deal about life in other parts of the world.

Funding for the visit, arranged through the Central Bureau in London, involved a lot of paperwork, but "it was worth it".

Snaps by Valerie Richardson

Daily worship - each day starts with a mantra.

Break time - chickpeas and hot milk.

Outline - shadow puppets.

Christingles - celebrations of festivals of lights from India nad UK.

Dress sense - making dolls for Seddlescombe pupils.

The way we wear - the completed dolls.

Ted went too - holding Bertrand bear, who kept a diary for Year 1 pupils bvack home.

Rush hour - the school run, New Ceation style.

Light fantastic - New Creation boys use their shadow puppets to create plays in Tamil and English.

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