Quick recap: we hosted an experiential learning programme for an NGO which gives after school programmes for government school children.
The session’s topic was snakes.
We had a group discussion where we heard no positive stories about snakes so we made origami baskets.
I gave them a series of tasks.
“Not everyone loves to write and not everyone loves snakes.”
Task one: Write a letter to the snake.
Children were not pleased to write.
After a few nudges and prompts and team spirit kicking in, a few started to draw and a few started to narrate their story of an encounter.
One gang of boys went ahead with a poem like this
“ Dear snake, if you are bad, I am your dad but I will love you” I fell down laughing and left the room with the aim to control laughter but ended up choking.
Task two: Fit your letter into the origami basket.
Yes, the basket they made was small and the letter could not be fit.
Task three: okay, fit only the important part of the letter and let go of the rest.
Children were apprehensive at first because the poems were their creations and I after laughing so hard was asking them to destroy it.
But the beauty of working with children is that they learn to adapt easily and are ready to explore quickly in no time letters and poems were torn and only a couple of words went into the basket.
Here is the main pitch.
Sai: So the basket was the snake’s brain and your letter was the information it could store in the brain.
Children: oh god mam!
Sai: As your basket can store only important stuff, so does the snake’s brain. So what is important for the snake?
Children: Food? water?
One boy at the back: Wait, are you telling snakes don’t have the capacity to remember a person and take revenge?
Sai: It seems so.
Another boy: what? If this is that simple logic why do i see bad stories about snakes?
Sai: Maybe India is waiting for your screenplay?
Children: you mean there are lies around?
Sai: all are welcome to question and poke your nose at things around you.
This was an interesting experience for us at Thicket Tales to interact with children through snakes.
Told ya! Experiential learning isn’t expensive but needs only creativity and maybe the ability to laugh at your own joke.
Simple exercises like these have a huge impact. Imagine a schooling system that allows children to explore as many topics in their curriculum through experiential learning.
See you all next month !
P.S (as summer vacation begins, I will come back with fun activities for children that you could do as a family).
Educator and Founder of Thicket Tales which capacitates children and families to explore and learn from their surroundings through games, experiments and projects
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