The way back home

TheWayBackHome

We are lucky to have friends who have books that we like and who are happy to lend them. This time we came home with 4 new books!

I am not the biggest fan of Oliver Jeffers, although there is no real reason for this. But “The way back home” really stroke a cord with us – and I was the one hard to convince!

I liked that it goes the way a young boy’s mind works; that one moment you are stuck on the moon and can’t get away because your plane ran out of petrol and the other you decide you can go back home to get whatever tools you need to fix the plane. That one moment there is no light whatsoever but then you remember there is a torch in your pocket. It’s a bit like Mary Poppins bag in that whatever you need can come out.

I liked that there is not much text but there are a lot of images in sequence that are begging for a conversation to be told.

The Why Why Girl

On Sunday we went to NCPA to watch ‘Kyun kyun Ladki’, a children’s play loosely based on the book of the same name (Tulika publishers, of course) performed by the Gillo Organization. It was an event for us because it was the first play we ever watched in Mumbai and the first one we took the kids to. It was really enjoyable, although a little too long – Núria stayed for half an hour and even though Neel managed to stay through the whole performance, 1:15h really is too much (plus it was in hindi which we really cannot follow). Adults in the audience far outnumbered the kids which I cannot understand either.

The story is a simple one, as was the scenery, costumes and music but maybe that was precisely why it was so appealing. In the same costumes, actors played the roles of kids, adults, animals and ‘things’ such as a mill or a fountain and one never doubted who they were at each moment. There were musicians on the side of the stage playing live music on each scene and making the sounds of things. So enjoyable!

Now, we just have to keep an open eye for future performances.

Oasis in Mumbai

Having a holiday from school means that we can go to our favorite park, BPT (Bombay Port Trust in Colaba), in the morning. We walk around, sit by the sea, we look at all the animals – mostly crows and cats, we pick up sticks, leaves, flowers and pebbles and can come home to put together a painting and collage to remind us of what great explorers we really are.

I recently found PlayfulLearning and really enjoyed its well-thought out ideas on theme-based outside walks.

The art of learning

These are solely my views as a mother and not the outcome of some studies or research which I did. I do not have enough knowledge of all education systems in India so I can only write based on what I see, go through and want for my child.

I was recently talking to a mother whose child attends the same school as my older son and she was telling me what a hard time she was having with this particular school. As a child, she had been taught to memorize information and not ask questions; in this school, our kids are being taught to question and learn along the way – the process is actually more important than the end in itself. She questioned whether this was the right way to go.

At another event, I talked to another mother whose child  attends the same school as my younger daughter and she was telling me how happy she was that she managed to find a spot for her daughter in another nursery. One where there was intensive learning ‘the old-fashioned way’ and where the walls were not bright and colorful. And this because eventually the girl would go to a big school where that would be the way to go and so it would be better that she would get adjusted right away.

Sometimes I feel detached from these realities. Above, a picture of rangoli at my in-laws house during Ganpati celebrations that Neel helped ‘create’ – so much fun to learn this way!

Excuses, excuses

Tara books are by far my favorite in India. This Publishing House does a really good job of bringing traditional folk tales to the public in a very appealing way; at the same time they also manage to put so much focus on graphics – whether it is typeface, or the kind of illustrations or even pop-up or cut-out books. That’s how you get books that you cannot take your eyes off of!

I knew I had to get ‘Excuses, excuses’ because it is about a boy named Neel and once you find a book with your son’s name in it you know you have to get it. But again, we were soooo pleased with it – it is funny, the illustrations are amazing and the story in rhyme just makes you want to read it again and again. It shows a certain side to children’s imagination which I keep wondering if it is promoted enough in India with its strong academic focus. Neel has now decided that he wants to get elephant feet and I am getting out of the drawer his superhero cape!

Play date or an afternoon at the zoo

Image

Yesterday at the weekly play date, as mothers were talking and sipping tea there was noise, horrible noise, in the background. Screaming and squeaking and “It’s mine”. I smiled and thought I’m glad they are not mine. And then… THEN! I realized it was my daughter who was not sharing, who was screaming at the top of her lungs, who was lying on the floor because she was not getting what she wanted….Yes, it was MY daughter and my smile was gone.

For a 1.5 year old she has a ‘personality’, as we lovingly say, but really there must be something that can be done. So many times I feel my patience and tolerance go to a dangerously low level and I find myself punishing instead of handling matters in a positive way.  I will now resort to reading on the matter.

The Good Behaviour Book (a Dr Sears book)

French Children don’t throw food (Bringing up Bebe)