Every Friday morning, we have a Library session for Class 4 and 5 of the nearby school. It almost seems like they tip-toe into Koota – 40 of them, and hardly a sound! They challenge our ideas on schooling and discipline. Having interacted with alternate schools and government schools – both of which have different benchmarks for discipline, this group is a dramatic change. What’s interesting to observe is that the children are very interested and engage in what is being discussed or demonstrated. One would assume that over-disciplining might make them dull- it does not seem so. For us “Library Class” is not only about books, but more about opening up the world and broadening their exposure through books and other media, interactive sessions, theatre and craft. Last week we had a session on “Evolution of Houses and Cities”.
” A home is where we can live with the family,” “Houses protect us from the heat and rain,” ” My room has a window which overlooks plants outside”- were some of the thoughts shared by the kids on the topic. A short slide presentation on how houses and cities evolved was met with enthusiastic participation. From caves and huts to apartments and houses, almost everyone had something to share. ” Why are the doors of houses in the Himalayan region so low?” Excited recognition of the Jaisalmer fort, where a few children had travelled and of familiar places in the suburb where we live. A visual of Austrian architects Hundertwasserhaus, which is an apartment inspired by organic architecture was met with some criticism, as they felt that the clean, straight lines apartments looked better. It gave us something to think about how aesthetic sensibilities are influenced by experience and social understanding.
The second part of the session involved creating a collage of a street, using shapes.
Coloured paper, scissors, glue and a large canvas had them all excited!
Three groups were formed and asked to build their street. Sharing scissors, paper and space was an exercise in teamwork- and we observed how patterns emerged in each teams working style. In one of the groups, a leader emerged who presented his idea but was forced to be democratic, as the proposal would not go forward unless everyone agreed. Another group just jumped right into the exercise and found their way as they went along. The third group worked as individuals and arrived and some very insightful details, all of which didn’t necessarily blend.
Bus, Bus stop and metro station- because we need to go places.
Orange shop, 30 km milestone, a book factory – merged with a lake, a forest and a mall.
One of them even had a large pink circle which denotes a “capital of the city”.
Lessons to be learnt from these young ones on how a city should be planned.
Looking forward to more such learnings.