03 Mar Nakshatra for Schools: A collaborative experience
“Don’t limit a child to your own learning for he was born in another time”
Taking the cue from Rabindranath Tagore’s words we decided to give Nakshatra (Bhumi’s annual talent festival) a makeover for the first ever Nakshatra for schools conducted on Feb 23, 2019 at Olcott Memorial School, Chennai
Designed around Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences:
The day had workshops that encouraged children to work with their head, heart and hands. The expanse of the venue was perfect to introduce children to the magical world of trees and how they grow, communicate and thrive. Gandhian principles and values were brought alive through spinning cotton on the charka. Open discussions on gender equality and child sexual abuse were thought-provoking and equipped the children with some basic to-dos. While theatre challenged children to synchronise their body, mind and voice, fireless cooking embraced their taste buds. Soaking into the basics of sketching and the use of watercolours was meditative for many; as others learnt why waste segregation is important, and how bio-enzymes can reduce the use of chemicals at home.
Projects in language, Mathematics and Science based on the theme ‘nature’ gave children an opportunity to learn differently; and the confidence with which they presented their understanding of the different types of land, mythological beliefs, and how man is exploiting and destroying natural resources was commendable.
The guest performance by Sri Rudrakasha Music & Dance Academy in the morning pumped up the children’s energy, and what followed was truly mesmerising. Their originality in making wealth from waste, in-sync dancing to Indian folk songs, reproducing the beats of folk music, and creating colourful patterns through rangoli was a delight to see!
The day took us back in time when school was a fearless space that offered joyful learning and we are immensely glad that these 400 children from eight low-income schools in Chennai were offered triggers to learn beyond the textbook.
We thank Environmentalist Foundation of India, Koouthupattarai, Prajnya Trust, Sustainable Waste Forum, The Red Elephant Foundation and some freelancers for making our children’s day special and memorable. We are also grateful to Arunodhaya, Bala Mandir Kamraj Trust, and Siragu Montessori School for gracefully accepting our invitation to perform for our children, thus modelling possibilities.
The day would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of volunteers from L&T Infotech, Qualcomm and Bhumi.