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Newsletter, Issue 9; Yr 20-21

Hello all,

When children play imaginative games together, they do more than exercise their imagination. They enact roles, and in doing so they exercise their capacities to behave in accordance with shared conceptions of what is or is not appropriate. They also practice the art of negotiation… Getting along and making agreements with others are surely among the most valuable of human survival skills.

From Free to learn by Peter Grey

The special attention to play and especially free play, is not just because we observe this in LC, but also because we are initiating a book club along with the facilitators of BeMe and teachers of LAIS. The first topic for discussion is about Play. I am sure you must have got the invitation on Whatsap. Highly recommended for you to join.

This week’s attractions

Circle Times, Monday Meeting, Newspaper reading

As mentioned last time, one of our learners turned 11. It was an opportunity to discuss what changes occur in mind in teen age. When he asked why children start fighting with parents after age of 12, someone said, why 12, kids start fighting from age of 6. When asked ‘why do u fight?’ and how do u feel when u fight? Interesting answer came like when we(kids) think we are right, and parents tell us something else (like to do). Also, we may not end up fighting always, once we fight, then we feel sad etc etc.

The topic then moved to teen age, why in teen age the fights increase?, What is rebel, why children try to rebel and prove different. How is it growing small baby (completely dependent on parents) to an adult who has his/her own view points, earning capacity and decision making power.

The discussion also led to when in other countries children start living separate, what is the difference in Indian culture, what is Matriarchy and patriarchy, what is legal age for marriage for boys and girls, why is it 21 and 18? So on…

The big ones were very vocal and participative. Even one of the small ones said she fights with the parents and also, she feels independent to take the decisions on her own (lol!)

Weekly meeting brought the concerns around cleanliness not being followed in the center upto the mark. Sometimes we failed to take mats while eating, sometimes plates and vatis were not cleaned properly, so also after friday food event the winding up was not taken care of. Children agreed that there is a need to maintain cleanliness. They also agreed to wash their utensils. As a precautionary measure, it is decided to show the washed plate to someone else and seek approval. 

The other discussion was about safety while playing on jungle gym (keeping mats and pillows down). Interestingly, children had a complaint that Sanjeevani Maushi comes for cleaning when they are playing in play zone, that requires winding up of mats and it disturbs the play. Also, then children do not take mats again. It was brought to the notice, throughout the day someone or other is playing in the play zone, then what to do?

Someone asked, why do we need to clean all the rooms all the day, we can leave play zone as it is for a couple of days. Since we sit on the floor, and some even take a privilege to roll on ground, we expressed the need of cleanliness. A proposal was made to children, why dont u take a responsibility of cleaning that room in turns and do cleaning before start of the day. Enthusiastically, kids volunteered. Two days have passed, still, Sanjeevani Maushi only cleans the play zone. 

What we learn through these discussions is the way children think, the way they operate, reason out, debate. This discussion also saves us from dictating terms. It requires long deliberations, repeated reminders but the process has beauty of its own.

We also noticed that by the time our morning meeting start, some of the children are not able to reach. In such cases, whether to wait for that person, how long to wait, should the morning circle extend it affects play time, all these aspects come for open discussion. Sometimes, while some important discussion goes on, children start a cross talk and start to play. In that case, what is the meaning of Learning Center, how it works on co-operative principles, and being equal stakeholders how it is everyone’s responsibility to participate in the decision process is brought to consideration. Once, one learner said, if someone is not interested in discussion, that person can move out, but it would be binding on him/her to follow the passed rule. While, it can be acceptable in principle, it is difficult to catch hold of everyone and pass the message making sure that the rule is followed. 

As a practice, we sign on the rule that's formed together. This time, one of the new learners not only was seen excited about this but also he read all the rules word by word, made a special comment that hand-writing could have been better and then signed! (lol)


The new idea of starting various clubs is under development. We all decided everyday we will have one club from 11:30 to 12, for those who sign up for it. Most voted are Music appreciation, drama, special days, book-discussion. Other proposed and executed on and off are playing cards, board games, gardening, knitting-stitching etc. The idea is children will lead these club, come up with ideas, decide tasks and look after the execution. Our first turns of Music and Drama happened over past two days. We are learning and evolving yet 

Arts crafts activities

Collage making, Paper rose making, thumb-printing were enjoyed by many

Informal play

Among different games and plays on and around jungle gym, wrestling matches, tug-o-wars and tyre games, we witnessed a new game (Spy game), a very well crafted and executed.

The two teams participating, each takes a turn to gossip/talk, while other has to spy and spot who is talking what. If the second team guesses right, roles change If first team catches the spy beforehand, the difficulty level of the game increases. (e.g. in first level, windows are kept open, people talk aloud, in next levels, curtains are closed, followed by windows and talks become whispers)

Friday activities

This Friday, food item was pasta. Children enjoyed going out for shopping corn and capsicum. They handled finances well, also the vegetable guy gave them concession of Rs. 10. Except for one engrossed in playing casio, rest all went shopping :-)

The pasta and corns were kept for boiling, and it started to rain. The focus changed. As kids moved out, they found another attraction, earthworms and snail. It finally happened so that we enjoyed delicious Pasta at 12:30.

In the reflections, it was discussed who all should help in winding up? Only the food partners, or volunteers who helped making food, or those who did not volunteer too. What time we should start making food so that it will give us enough time to enjoy and wind up too.

Few of the learners have decided not to become food minister, which is ok. We have some enthusiastic volunteers who are ready to take multiple turns.

Goal setting review

Its been a week after setting goals, we had a follow up meeting in that regard. Few children have achieved few of the goals set. Other are getting more clarity about what interests them more and they refined some goals. Lets see how it evolves 

This is all for the week.

Stay tuned for the updates.