Bright and colorful shoes, bags, water bottles, tiffin boxes, bubbles, gold fish, stickers, stars and smilies – wow how I wish I could be a child again!
It’s been a month since school reopened; mostly a month full of excitement, fun and loads of laughter. Temper tantrums and bawling by a few; shy smiles and quiet observations by some others. It is interesting how little children also have personalities. As I hear from parents some are up & about and ready to go to school at 7 a.m. while others can try their parents’ patience and imagination at new ways of cajoling. Eventually we can say that most kids are happily settled. There are some who are taking time but we are confident that they will feel at home soon. Parents have faith, take a deep breath and let them go!
Kids will be kids
The best affirmation for us is the feedback we get from our children. Let me share a few anecdotes:
On the day of our very first staff meeting, a child came running into the office and asked Radha who has joined us as the co-teacher for pre-primary – “what are you doing here madam, aren’t you coming out to teach us Kannada?” Children love Kannada classes. They have a unique ability to pick up languages at this age. So we have introduced Kannada in addition to English and Hindi.
On another day, a Friday, at 3 p.m. when Rameeza and Lubna were taking a breather before wrapping up, some children walked upto them eagerly and said – “what is our next activity?” Completely forgetting it was not only the end of the day but also the week for all of us!
And of course there is this one child who comes to the office every day during the free play time to pull me and Margaret out to play with him insisting that the office should be closed.
It’s never too early to Go Green
On June 16 we celebrated Environment day.
Rameeza and Lubna talked to the children about planting more trees and the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We also got them to sow some seeds. We followed up the environment day activity with a field visit to Koramangala 3rd block park and compost program. Friends of the school and 3rd block residents Shonali and Anil Chiniaih explained the compost making process to our children. We hope to continue with our go-green activities including a small community project in 3rd block, throughout this term. We are making compost with the wet waste at school, we plan to plant saplings and very soon one day we will do some artwork with dry and electronic waste.
To help children appreciate and accept differences and be more empathetic towards each other we had our first interactive session with the older kids (extended session and primary) on the value of empathy. We hope to have similar interactions with the little ones too as they feel more settled in the environment. We showed them some interesting short videos to explain the concept of empathy and had a discussion around it.
Here are two links to watch with your little ones and talk to them about empathy and caring for others:
Mark Ruffalo & Murray talk about Empathy
Telling stories with Puppets
Children love puppets. We had a couple of puppet shows to help them settle down. The very first show introduced a group of puppets to the children. These are friends from the Jungle Gym Montessori, very close to ILM Montessori. They will come every Friday to talk about different topics that are relevant for them. At times they will simply tell funny stories but often they will share their own experiences that will focus on values and have a core message. Like last time when Sqeaky squirrel was hurt, RaRa rooster simply sat and made a drawing along with her. On his own, RaRa does not enjoy drawing much but he wanted to be there for his friend and gave her company when she was not well.
At ILM we not only enjoy puppetry but see it as a powerful medium to communicate with young children about important messages in a fun way. We hope to make this a regular feature. Volunteers are welcome!