Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Art out of Alphabets

As I entered the class to begin a session of Balavidya meditation I noticed most children were busy drawing something with small chalk pieces that they had collected. I remembered my school days where activities like this were viral in the class, one begins and the other is drawn to do the same.
This tendency in children is a legacy, nothing much has changed over time, I saw children searching for pieces of chalk or negotiating deals in exchange for a small corner of the board to draw.
Making boundaries of their canvas and ending up in real-estate disputes.

I felt like joining the flow rather than pulling them out of their mood and making them do something that is not the current vibration in the air.

I invited all of them to come to the black board and use Alphabets to make Art. Imagine things that can spring out of Alphabets. There was a burst of creativity in the class. And here I proudly present the masterpiece that my children have created....

'A' turns into a clown and 'C' becomes an Apple, Snake curls out from 'S' and 'M' mountains welcome the morning sun and 'E' can indeed lead to electric bulb.

In the group of children there is a child who is hyper active, has difficulty in focusing and has trouble making friends. But today was different, he saw more things coming out of alphabets and surprised everyone by designing a Kite out of 'Z'. He is right there in the middle of this picture, looks like he might make friends soon too as all children loved his art work and he loved to tell stories about each alphabet.
It was amazing to see a boy with learning difficulties in the typical class room turn into a budding artist with so many creative gifts and it was even more touching to see how children naturally made the class an inclusive space to be shared with each other given all their uniqueness.




I have often noticed parents and teachers treating art as a hobby element in life. Most schools that I have visited have art, music and craft periods but they are only name sakes. It is sad that the purpose and intent of these time slots are least understood and hence are not well spent at all. If Art based methods are adopted right from lower primary schools ( at least in the allotted time) then certainly we will be setting up an environment for creativity, natural understanding and evolution in children to unfold.

I feel creativity is a building block of life itself.
Learning to create,express, ideate and more than anything appreciate beauty and aesthetics is very important in life. Dance, drama, music, poems, drawing, painting, sculpting and several other expressions of art within us can give a child deeper insights into the self and the world around.
I also feel that visual learning is more natural to children even before they can read, write and understand through text especially through English in rural schools, where  the language certainly is a barrier yet to be broken.
Children easily interpret what they see. Even small children can easily operate a smart phone these days and this happens because they observe and learn from the visual information.
Art forms can help children in developing motor skills, creativity, language and also bring in cultural awareness. They begin to develop a sense of appreciation or criticism based on their experiences, they become aware of their tastes, likes and dislikes. Their sense of perceptions can refine and lead to contemplations and periods of original thinking which is a sign of individuality.

I do not know for sure how much of all this happened in my class but certainly I saw children in their natural self freely expressing their mind and this is a positive sign for me to continue the efforts in this direction



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