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, November 5, 2017
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.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Play is the highest form of research - Albert Einstein
The above quote has a very deep meaning and reflects Einstein's depth of understanding on play as being vital to human development. Earlier the classical theories looked at play from a very philosophical perspective, and viewing play as a form for release of pent up energy. The contemporary theorists view of play is according to the likes of Einstein's quote. Play was viewed by the contemporary theorist from a developmental perspective.
According to Sandie Rollins's, Sigmund Freud looked at play from a therapeutic perspective. Freud in his book on "Beyond the Pleasure Principle", describes play as a mechanism for the child through which the child tries to master previously experienced traumatic events. Anna Freud viewed play as both adaptive and defensive for dealing anxiety.
Bruner, 1972 stated that play had a major role of rehearsing, where the child rehearses actions pertaining to real life situations in a safe, risk-free environment, where the child is preparing himself/herself to face the difficult situation in a less stressful way.
According to Dewey, play is a subconscious activity that helps an individual develop both mentally and socially. It should be separate from work as play helps a child to grow into a working world. As children become adults, they no longer "play" but seek amusement from their occupation. This childhood activity of play prepares them to become healthy working adults.
Maria Montessori, postulated that "play is the child's work." Montessori believed in sensory play, where the child learns through play from hands on experiences, with the help of a teacher helping the child play to learn.
According to Lewin and Buytendijk's Infantile dynamics, play happens because cognitively the child is unable to judge the difference between the real and unreal world. The child plays because it's pre-wired in the not to show any other forms of behaviours other than play. Later, Piaget explain play as occurring in stages in his theory of cognitive development. The stages are;
- Functional play, (sensori motor stage), wherein the child explores his surroundings with the help of his senses and gains an understanding of the environment, which is play for the child.
- Symbolic play (pre operational stage), the child is trying to represent things around symbolically.
- Games with rules (Concrete operation stage), the child at this stage is ready to play more constructive games involving rules.
According to Vygotsky, play is a means by which the child is trying to learn to be social. Children encounter others while playing, where they learn to interact using language and role play.
It's very clear from the above discussion that various theorists viewed play from different perspectives like therapeutic according to Freud, sensory according to Montessori, intellectual according to Lewin and Piaget and social according to Vygotsky. All these theories are just a bird's eye view, there are many more theories of play which explains play from even more different perspectives.
By Dr Srividya K.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
“Man only plays when he is in the fullest sense of the word a human being, and he is only fully a human being when he plays” ― Friedrich Schiller
Play has been looked at from various perspectives. Fun, frolic, past time, and other synonymous words are the terms used by the common man to describe play. The way academicians look at play from a philosophical and scientific perspective, helps us understand and look at play from various perspectives.
There are some classical theories of play that emerged in the 19th and 20th century which gives different perspectives to play from a very philosophical perspective.
According to the Surplus energy theory of play by Friedrich Schiller (1873), there is lot of energy that is built up in human which can be released only through active play. Play is a medium of releasing the pent up energy.
postulated by Moritz Lazarus (1883), in which he opines that play is a mode of relaxation or a de-stressor which restores all the energy that has been lost in the day to day work related activities.
Karl Groos (1898) suggests that play is very important to practice behaviours that will help children to survive when they become adults.
Stanley Hall (1906) in his Recapitulation theory argues of play acting as a catharsis in removing certain primitive and unnecessary instinctual skills and not for survival for the future.
Appleton (1919), in his Growth theory agrees with Groos believing that play is way of learning behaviors for survival and Ego expanding theories by Lange 1902 and Claparde 1911 opines that Play is nature's way of completing the ego an expressive exercising of the ego and the rest of the personality; an exercising that develops cognitive skills and aids in the emergence of additional skills.
Every theorists have differing views on play, but we can come to a consensus that play is vital and important for various aspects of development in children.
By Dr Srividya K.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
The readers must be wondering about the word above, while an old picture of snakes and ladders has been depicted. It is in fact snakes and ladders, but was named as mokshpatam, and
The ladders represent virtues and snakes represents vices, played by dices of shells. This game has undergone a lot of evolution, but the basic idea of good deeds representing heaven and bad deeds hell remains the same.
Paramapadam is also another version of the same game with hundred squares. Each square is illustrated, the ladders represent the gods, and snakes; demons. Each square depicts karmas and samskaras. This game is played for the purpose of entertainment as well to teach morality. This game was renamed as 'Snakes and Ladders' by the British in 1892 and was modified in accordance to the Victorian values.
Another famous sport that is believed to be of Indian origin is 'Polo'. The mughal emperor Babur, is said to have founded this sport in the 15th century, which was modernized by the Britishers.
The same game is played on elephants and is called as 'Elephant Polo', which is said to have been played by the royals, depicting the strengths of the king depending on the number of elephants. This game is played in India (Rajasthan), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, England and Scotland.
Such has been the story of origins of games from India!
Picture source has been citied from Aphilomath Journal, content has been reviewed from the same source.
By Dr Srividya K.