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.

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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!