A ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

I was on an official trip with two of my colleagues in the field for the first time. We kept on travelling on the endless roads. As we were heading forward, things were changing. It seemed as if we were constantly entering into a new landscapes. The flock of sheep added to the serenity of the endless mountain meeting the sky. The attire of shepherd portrayed their culture. There were mountains on both sides of the road.

Soon we reached a place where we could see no mountains around us. We landed in a small “basti” where we had to track a child for administrating the Achievement Test (AT3:a tool used in the IECEI study). However, we discovered that the child had migrated a nearby place. I enquired a few people about it and how to reach the child.

We managed to locate the child. We found the child’s house even far off from that outskirt area. Reaching there was a daunting task…but we persisted. It was amazing to see a small hut in the middle of nowhere. It was the only house in an isolated place made of straw, mud, dung and plastic sheets surrounded by fields. My excitement soon faded after knowing that the child had gone to the relative’s place. Our luck! Tracking a child seemed like an easy task, until we tried doing it on our own.

However, I unexplored a road less that is travelled and gave me a chance to know the lives of people I did not knew before.

KHEL SABHA

One of the important things noticed during the field work was “KHEL SABHA”. “KHEL SABHA” is a name given to sessions in the daily routine of the school which cater to physical development of the children.

In the “KHEL SABHA” children were taken to a large room where one could see lots of learning materials, toys and charts for children. These were made of low cost/no cost materials such as match sticks, old books, different pulses, pebbles and so on. This room also had a library corner and children were seen using books to read. Children did not play in the “KHEL SABHA”. Rather, they sang cultural songs in small groups with musical instruments. And, a few children also danced on these songs. The amazing thing was to see the excitement with which children sang and danced. This portrayed the way cultural activities were being used in physical development of the child.

It did not just cater to the physical development, but also enhanced their psychosocial development. Children during these sessions were sharing, performing, expressing their ideas too—language development! Cultural activities ensured that their local cultures were valued in the classroom.

Written By: Monica Jairam, CECED, Ambedkar University Delhi. She can be reached at monica@aud.ac.in

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely of the author. This is not necessarily CECED’s point of view but only reported by CECED.