We have seen that respect and understanding grow when children of differing abilities have the opportunity to play and learn together. The work with the children in inclusive schools is focused towards enhancing the social competence, acceptance and allowance in the classrooms using the Arts.
Here are the schools we work with in the inclusive space:
What would it look like to create a space for children that would allow them to bring up questions, share feelings, reflect on thoughts, and discuss self-image, events in the world, relationships and biases in a non-threatening creative manner?
In a time when humans are trying to numerically quantify all the things children know, we must remember that there is more to life than intellect. Children’s success in academic and social life depends on a numbers of factors. It is widely held that there are at least 7 dimensions of human greatness required to develop wholly: integrity, intuition, interaction, initiative, inquiry, imagination and identity.
Our two year journey with the 7i program has served to strengthen the vision with which the initiative was envisaged. The perspective of social connect has been examined, re-examined and affirmed in the entire thread of the interventions using art as the medium. The tentative forays of the children into the world of arts based interventions, now sees them embark on a robust participation in the art forms. This familiarity with the process and the facilitators has brought about an ease in communication as well as served as a platform for deeper observations of the engagements. The children have been seen to respond to the non judgemental, safe space with increasing comfort. The teachers have had the opportunity to see them express viewpoints on hitherto untouched topics, their worldviews being challenged repeatedly in gentle yet persuasive ways.
This year has led to a strengthening of the understanding of the groups as a class as well as individually. The teachers too got an opportunity to be a part of the process as well as observe the children in a different setting and to take this observation to the classroom. The children could look at the processes more deeply and respond with greater maturity as they understood the direction of the program.
We see the children ready to take on the mantle of applying their learning for themselves as well as others in the school. The need is for them to continue working on understanding themselves and to broaden the horizon of this understanding by enabling interventions beyond their own classroom. The teachers too can carry this program to other classes and empower other teachers as well as the children in this process. We would handhold the teachers through the process in design and execution keeping the larger perspective of the program in mind.
Our children have demonstrated over the past few years that they thrive in learning spaces that are receptive, empathetic and learner led.
In our ongoing effort to build relationships and create conversations, we colocated with a mainstream school Kids’ Corner School at JP Nagar to see how children can engage with each other and build an organic platform of learning and social interaction.
Our children were hosted with grace, delight, respect and joy at the Kids Corner premises every Wednesday and amidst the artistic domain of songs and music, play and games, paint s, colour and balloons a beautiful dialogue emerged. Sometimes the children of Kids Corner were invited to events which they shared with the children at Snehadhara in varied outdoor spaces. In an endeavour aimed at discovering connections in wider spaces that foster empathy, team sharing, open communication and confidence we hosted the children from the Kid’s corner school for a day long picnic along with Intel employees.
The intent remained for them to partake of each other’s worlds and savour the uniqueness of the diverse spaces.
Carrying forward this conversation between the two groups of children from Snehadhara and Kids Corner, we continue in 2017-18 with the same model of buddying one another, learning from each other. Learning, not just tangible forms but also communicating with, receiving from , rejoicing in, sharing with and cheering each other.