“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”~ William Butler Yeats
“Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in his own play.”~ Magda Gerber
The above two quotes are the two cornerstones between which was born a setup of the Weekly Kids Club in my apartment. This was a non-profit program I initiated for kids in my residential apartment in May 2019. This was run on every Sunday in the evening time. The intent was to encourage, inculcate reading habit, creative expressions in kids along with a healthy educational discussion around the various topics covering a broad spectrum including environmental, social, literature, art, sports, fitness, and Indian heritage. Residents were invited to do workshops on topics like yoga, drawing, rangoli, cue-math, poetry, Indian folk art, compassion etc.
To make the experience more enriching, guest speakers outside the apartment were invited to speak and share valuable ideas from their experience. These included fitness coaches, entrepreneurs, story tellers etc. Some of the guest lectures included ‘Lessons from Mythology’, “Thinking Out of the Box’, ‘Zero Waste Parties’ and, ‘The Magic of Shlokas’.
This initiative was free of cost. On special occasions when the audience was large, support of some volunteers was taken. The work involved the tasks of talking to people and identifying prospective residents/guest speakers who could lead workshops as per their area of interest, planning the content, making posters, structuring the session with slots for children to read their ‘Thought for the day’, ‘Gratitude Statement’, ‘Tell me Why’, slides for the content, including quizzes, encouraging active participation, helping little kids who needed support in doing/expressing. After the sessions I used to summarize the session proceedings and share it along with a photo / video album of the session. The coordination with parents of the children was managed via a WhatsApp group. Their support and encouragement for this initiative was an important inspiration to this initiative. Feedback from children was taken for each session on what they enjoyed most. Their happiness was enough evidence of their achievement. Every session was a practical one ensuring to engage the children hands-on with the activity or concepts. Parents of some of the children did attend the sessions and their positive words of appreciation served as an inspiration and motivation to continue efforts on these sessions.
This has been my best experience with children, just to be among so many smiling faces every Sunday for 40 weeks! It is just priceless to see them trying new things, feeling happy to share about themselves, their achievements of learning something new or just being together with other children. On average around 15 to 20 children attended each week. The venue was shifted to different resident’s homes whoever were willing to volunteer.