Cherished Memories and Summer Vacations
We, as conventional readers, would find it impossible to read or write in a way that does not match the rules of a specific language. But young children start developing literacy skills right from the moment people start talking to them and playing with them. As a result, children start babbling before they speak, and scribbling- drawing before they write. Letting children express what they feel through drawing and writing in their own free way would allow them to form narratives and get them started with writing. In this month of Let's Start Art sessions, we added emergent literacy practices to make the class more engaging and help children gain confidence as well as interest in literacy education.
For the first set of sessions, we talked to the the children about their fondest memories, and asked them to draw and write about it. We were able to create a space for children where they can try their hand at writing without any constraints or rules. This helps children gain confidence as well as interest in literacy education. A total of 572 students attended these sessions.
"This is a drawing about my doll sweeping the floor. My happiest memory is when I was playing with my doll, when my parents are also at home.", said Anil, a student of class 3rd at Government Primary School, Durgakund, while reading from the text that he has written next to his drawing.
"My mother and grandmother tell us that there are ghosts on the street in the afternoon during Navratri (a nine day festival in early summer). These ghosts catch anyone who step out of the house during this period. My drawing has a ghost running after people who are outside their houses.", said Makku, a student of class 3rd at Government Primary School, Chhittupur, while explaining his drawing.
Makku has also tried writing down the narrative in Hindi.
The second set of Let's Start Art sessions was conducted on the theme Summer Vacations. Students were also encouraged to write their experiences and narratives in whatever way they could.
"I live at my Bua's (Aunt's) place here in Varanasi so that I can study. But whenever there's a holiday I go back to my village and spend time with my parents. During summers it's very hot there, so I eat a lot of ice creams at home. And since it's vacation time, I play all day with my friends and study during the evening.", told Vandana, a student of class 3rd at Government Primary School, Kodai Chowki.
"During summer vacations, we attend a lot of wedding parties. I have made a drawing of a scene from one such party where I'm dancing. The bride and groom are getting married, but the bride's father is crying.", told Sudha, a student of class 3rd at Government Primary School, Durgakund 2, while explaining her drawing.
696 students from 20 Government Primary Schools of Varanasi attended these sessions. We conducted 40 sessions in these 20 Government Primary Schools at Bhadaini, Nagwa, Orderly bazaar, Naria, Sonarpura, Sunderpur 1, Sunderpur 2, Nayi Sadak, Durgakund 1, Durgakund 2, Lolark Kund, Kodai Chowki, Gurudham, Beniya bag, Chittupur 1, Chittupur 2, Lahartara, Kabirnagar, Aditya Nagar, and Bhikharipur.