Sunday, November 26, 2017


“Sociodramatic play is the most advanced form of social and symbolic play. In sociodramatic play, children carry out imitation and dramatic and fantasy play together. Sociodramatic play involves role-playing, in which children imitate real-life people and experiences that they have had themselves. Make-believe is also a component because it serves as an aid to imitation. It allows the children to represent real-life events and includes their imaginations in carrying out their roles.” The child’s abilities in sociodramatic play improve with experience, and, as the child plays with different children, play becomes more varied to include new interpretations and ideas.” - WILLIAM H. STRADER

Sara Smilansky, a renowned researcher and a professor from Israel, has researched on the sociodramatic aspect of child's play. Smilansky has a a lot of publications on play and it's relation to learning. Initially, Smilansky worked with Jean Piaget, which led to the development of three stages of play, which has been mentioned in the earlier blog, that is sensory motor play, symbolic play and games with rules.  

Further, Smilansky reworked on Piaget's theory of explaining that play does not occur in stages but rather children engage in four types of play which is present at all stages of development. The four types of play are;

  •  Functional play, where children use their muscles and senses to explore things around
  • Conditional play, where children use the muscles and senses at the same time are trying to be creative.
  • Games with rules, where children are trying to understand the use of rules in play.
  • Dramatic play, which according to Smilansky is the most complex form of play involving the imitative capacities of the children.
According to Smilansky, these types of play effects academic success in children. Smilansky worked further on Sociodramatic play of children to understand it's relevance to learning. According to Smilansky, "Sociodramatic play is also considered as dramatic play children engage in at a social setting". This play occurs at two levels imitative and imaginative. Imitative is the first level where the child imitates real persons and real situations. Imagination goes a level higher than imitative, when the child begins to enact and create a whole imaginary situation to include whatever they imitate.

Sociodramatic play and the four types of play as explained by Smilansky are the key components for understanding the relation between play and learning. 

Smilansky's research greatly contributed to the world of developmental psychology. It greatly impacted research on the effects of play and learning. The research she's contributed to says that sociodramatic play allows for preparation for children's school years. It was also found that the type of background children come from has an effect on sociodramatic play, which affects their learning and academics. 

By Dr Srividya K.


Sunday, November 19, 2017


Working with children, one very important aspect is patience. It is a virtue that is a must. Learning to be patient with them and teach them whatever needs to be taught at their own pace is something very essential. It's so amazing to see the enthusiasm of the children. They're so carefree and they enjoy every second of the time they get, even in the rain, and it's really wonderful to see. They thoroughly enjoy themselves without thinking too much and that's what is really needed after a long day of monotonous lectures. The kids could learn to mingle better, especially not with girls. Whenever they're taken into any room, the boys and girls stand or sit separately and it's our job to make them interact with each other apart from among themselves. But it's good to see that the children have fun among themselves, regardless of their ages. The seniors help the juniors and the juniors feel free to go up to the seniors to interact and have fun. The instructors are also very helpful and they take care of the children very well.

Another thing I thought would be a barrier was language. All of them know Kannada and since I only know bits and pieces of it, it was a little difficult in the beginning. But later we got to communicate in English by using common words which the kids would understand. It really helped and slowly we got closer to the kids and learnt from them too.

Overall, it has been an amazing experience. I've never been around so many children as a tutor before and it has been so enriching. I am looking forward to many more interactions with them and will continue to keep an open mind to learn new things.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


After a lot of searching, we finally found Headstreams. More specifically, Headstreams found us. We were in desperate need of an NGO and luckily for us, Headstreams turned out to be a perfect place. Even though I've attended only 4 sessions, it's been a major learning experience.

After the routine 9-4 schedule every day, the kind of break we get at Headstreams is very relieveing. We get to play around with children and involve ourselves in refreshing activities which acts as a destressor and a welcome breake from my mundane routine. As I said, it's a constant learning experience from both us and the children. We primarily facilitate the children and in turn also enjoy the fact that the children like the things that's being done for them. At the same time we also learn a lot as the children we interact with are very talented in various fields and as a result, it's a bidirectional learning experience. Also the way everything is conducted is efficient and everyone at Headstreams deserves to be appreciated for that. The instructors are crystal clear in what they want to communicate to us and it's majorly because of them that we do a lot, even though it's only a few hours that we get to spend with the children. The activities are also very enjoyable and fun and it's a very innovative way to teach children different things as they enjoy what they do and aren't really bored at the end of the day.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Caravan is a very unique opportunity where I get to spend quality time with the most amazing children. I have been given a chance to build a strong bond with these kids that I will remember for a life time. Every saturday, I get to create memories by playing, laughing, dancing, painting or sometimes by just doing the silliest of things along with them. Just by spending a few hours, I learn things that I'd never learn in a classroom. Every week I learn about their life, their difficulties, their strengths and their happiness. This is what makes Caravan so unique. It brings people together. It bridges the gap between people coming from two different backgrounds. What makes me keep coming back every week is to see their bright smiles. The thought of bringing a smile to their faces only by just showing up is what makes me so happy. One of the most important things in life is to find joy in the simplest of things and I have learnt that through caravan.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


At Headstreams, it's a two way learning process. There are times where children learn from the volunteers and at  times the volunteers learn a lot from the children. Each week there are different set of games and activities and after each session, the volunteers are asked for their feedback from which the organisation aims in improving its ways and methods. Although the school is situated in the outskirts of the city and it takes almost two and a half hours to reach, the volunteers forget about their fatigue when they see the smiling faces of the children ready to welcome the volunteers. 

There are a lot of volunteers who come from other places and cities and do not know the regional language, but this does not hinder the interaction between the children and the volunteers. 

The organisation plans its activities beforehand which helps the volunteers understand what they exactly have to do during the sessions. It helps reduce a lot of confusion. The feedback session too, helps improve,introduce and organise newer and better activities every week. The rapport I've built with certain kids in the school is great. They come searching for me, they make greeting cards for me and also share their personal problems and experiences with me. It's overwhelming that I've built such strong relationships just within a few weeks of working with the organisation. For the first couple of weeks, though the volunteers of different colleges didn't get along well, it kept getting better with each session. 

There are a lot of things I've learnt in these few weeks with Headstreams. I've learnt patience, and how little things matter to these kids. Their eyes shine and their faces lighten up when they are appreciated for the small things. They are very enthusiastic. Although they were a little shy in the beginning, they came out of their closet and took part in the activities oragnised. They are very creative and there's so much to learn from them. They come up with innovative art ideas and dance moves that we would've never thought about. 
Although they are really young, they are very understanding. They never make fun of people who do not know the regional language but encourage them by teaching them words and numbers in Kannada. Even if  a session or a stall bored them or they did not like it, they always say nice things so that it doesn't hurt us. 

Like I mentioned before, I love going to the school even if I'm really exhausted. My mood brightens up when I see the children and I really look forward to work with the organisation in the upcoming months! 

Sunday, October 22, 2017


This caravan, volunteered at the dance stall. We tried a new activity where we all stood in a circle, and while the music played anybody could step in, do a step, and the rest of us would follow. This didn't really work with the group, as the kids hesitated and many of them ran out of the room. We then thought we would try something different. In the same circle we decided that we'd each step in one by one in order. While there were still nerves, the kids adapted to this method far better. This incident made me think about a theory I was just studying in college, and I realised that majority of those kids would fit in to Erik Erikson's Industry verses Inferiority stage of Psycho social development. This made perfect sense because I could see that where the kids were hesitant to take up initiatives of doing the step taught, because they might have had feeling of being inferior. But while we went in order, they felt slightly more confident to show their competence. This whole realisation made me feel pretty proud of myself, for being able to understand a concept and apply it like that. What else would be the point of studying the subject? I left today's caravan feeling really grateful for having that opportunity to get a hands on learning.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


The Headstreams Caravan sessions conducted so far have been an amazing learning experience. I've never been able to get along well with people younger than me. But Headstreams has helped me become a better person. Not only this, I have also learnt team work here. Around 60 volunteers from different colleges come together to work and make each session fun filling and exciting. To be frank and honest, it's not easy to control 200 odd students at once. I'm a very impatient person and I get stressed really quick. But at Headstreams, the child hidden inside me comes out. The very fact that Headstreams stresses on over-all development and mainly stress on activities outside academics, which other educational institutions fail to implement sets Headstreams apart. I enjoy each session thoroughly; from the large group games to the dance and music stall to the part where we have to say goodbye to the kids, I cherish each moment spent here.