Today was day 3 of our Diwali Run. Since first two days were mostly icebreaking and field trip, todays sessions at little angels were nearest to what can happen from June onwards at Learning Centre. The first slot for 7+ kids was taken by Wrik on photography. And we were having a bunch of small kids. There were more adults to look after in initial one hour (as compared to what we are expecting in June)
Rushabh tried to engage kids on ground, in football activity, followed by hide and seek. Archana tried to start hopscotch. But there were more than handful which did not want to participate in either, and they kept exploring different things.
Asmi, Aadhya, Sarang, Aarush, Saysha, Sanvi were newcomers today. Aarush and Sarang joined the photography workshop. Aadhya knew the group. Saysha, Sanvi and Asmi were little difficult to handle. Asmi’s caretaker was along, so she was mostly taken care. The other twos didn’t want to share anything. The whiteboard and marker pens attracted them the most and they were not ready to leave the pens even while eating or playing with some other toys.
Hriday and Kaveer took on each other many times, and Hriday also had a fight with S-S over the marker pens.
I tried to attract attention of everyone to set some rules and to tackle the issues. Neev suggested we should give Time-Out, Anika suggested we should write the name and cross over it. That kind of built pressure on SS and they handed over the pen, but it only lasted for some time. Kavya-Divija played a trick of giving bad smileys but it did not work at all.
Aarush did not let younger kids to participate in monopoly and even the elder ones after the game was set. Nehan and Anika wanted to join in. I convinced Aarush somehow to include Nehan, but there was strict No-No for Anika. So Nehan himself suggested that I can teach Anika and we will be one team. So, the issue got sorted out.
Nandita was feeling kind of insecure or attention seeking and cranky since I had lot of kids surrounding me. I let her cry for some time, Divija, Iva, Chinmayi all helped to settle her, most of the times.
I tried to initiate reading book aloud, clap game, form story, but no-one really was interested. Except S-S, Iva, Myrah and Hriday for a short while sat beside me to listen to the story. There were many discussions happening over monopoly, Sarang was making map, as told by Ananya, Kavya- Divija mostly were near board, a few down, Nandita-Chinmayi-Aadhya-vatsal playing kitchen set and doctor set and Ananya Iva Karthik mostly with Jigsaw.
It was completely self-driven throughout.
Then when I interfered in fight of Kaveer and Hriday and to diver attention started playing passing ball, suddenly game became violent. I was worried that ball will hit someone. There were in toto around 4-5 such incidences of kids hitting each other
At the end of the day, I felt that this was kind of extended baby-sitting. Mostly monitoring and managing behavioural issues. Though everyone was happy in general, at around 12:30-1:00 they started thinking about their parents and homes. So difficult to say they were completely glued.
Kids below 6-7 are really difficult to deal with. Because its difficult to attract them or engage them and isolate them from others. They require maximum attention and energy. With them around general circle time also becomes difficult, where, the older ones would think about planning and execution of some self-set activities.
Since kids are not used freedom and self-governance, I am hoping that this kind of loosening will go on for a couple of months, and kids will eventually settle down for some serious stuff.
But the space is real limiting factor. For example, in Sudbury or Jidnyasa, where they have lake, farm, animals around, the smaller kids or non-doers also get the variety of exposure automatically.
With a set up like a big room and stilt area, it’s difficult to replicate.
Poorva is the co-founder and a facilitator of the Learner's Collective Foundation