Friday, June 29, 2012

I am starting special classes

It is bewildering. The play ground is empty of children. The little ones are there but the ones above 5-6 are missing. The kids my child used to play with show up only occasionally. She now plays with 3-4 year olds. She plays gently with them and does enjoy their company and is very caring but she is playing with little kids not her peers.

Her peers are in classes, after school classes, tuition classes, drawing classes, karate classes, skating classes, dance classes, yoga classes, and many more.

I am thinking of starting classes for children, for Sanah and her peers, classes for empty time in the park.

I will teach children to run without the sole purpose of learning a new skill. I will let them trip and try and let them learn to break their fall on their own, to cry or not to cry when they fall, to cope with ego bruising of others laughing when you fall, and so on and so forth.

I will try and keep quiet when other kids laugh and wait for them to learn on their own that its nicer to go help someone who has tripped than to laugh. But if the fall was funny, it is okay to laugh and to take care of the one who has fallen. The possibilities are endless. In my class I will let all the possibilities play out.

I will charge for this class. A stone, a mud ball, a fallen flower, a yellowing leaf...anything. This might assure the parents that I am providing a service and am getting compensated for it. That might make them feel that time is being utilised well.

The classes will be for girls and boys.

I find boys totally missing from the grass garden. The slightly older ones play cricket. It is amazing that the girls are not even remotely curious about a vigorous game played right in front of them. They just dont see each other, the boys and the girls. I look on at the boys using every part of their body to play their game, they jump, they run, they swing, they lunge back, forward, everywhere. The girls, at best, they run, i can bring in the skipping ropes and the cycles, but as a group I wish I'd see them use their bodies differently. They are already careful, pretty, delicate- yes they are grubby at the end of their play but just not in the same way as the boys.

In my class I will hope that the the boys bully the girls into being more physical. And I would hope that the girls teach the boys to catch their breath and maybe even sit pretty for a while. And hopefully in a few weeks there will be no distinction about who is teaching whom.

So now I will need to take time off from my hectic schedule to make sure that my child and others her age do what children do - muck around, push, shove, take care of each other without adult supervision.

And what will i do? Supervise the space to ensure that it is adult free, reassure the adults that the children are indeed learning skills, valuable skills, called life skills. As an added incentive I might add that it is scientifically proven that free play in the setting sun ensures strong bones, great hand-eye coordination, a razor sharp brain and social skills.


mim said...

where is this park? but...

it's mumbai you are talking about right? aren't there zero open spaces...???

an ant i hear sucks in his breath so his paunch won't hit the neighbouring ant; that mumbai?

but parents are taking the kids to all these classes because they are scared of their children...
like i am scared of my firstborn and his ability to raze me, wear me down, pester me, gnaw me...

i know i should find a chess class, skating class, carrom class etc

richajn said...

Amen to that. I'm signing up. And bringing my son along.

SUR NOTES said...

This is a park in my mum's compound, five minutes from where i live. But there are three public parks and a large ground close to where i live, walking distance.
But this is the park she played with kids her age whom she knows. They are all going missing.

We learnt chess playing against one another, skating by bumping into each other and grazing our knees very very badly. Now everything is packaged to make you better, faster, more adept.

SUR NOTES said...

"but parents are taking the kids to all these classes because they are scared of their children..." :) yes, they do pester, gnaw, raze, wear one down! That i agree, and that is why it is a treat for them( for me!) to get worn down by a snail hidden in the grass, a branch that just wont straighten out to become what they want it to become, and so on and so forth.

Richa : glad to know that others share my bewilderment.

mim said...

~nm said...

I so very well know where you are coming from. I'm your league as well. And I'm signing in my kiddo your classes too :)

Choxbox said...


and i just came back from my birth city - there, kids start prepping for JEE from grade 7. 6 hours of extra classes both days of the weekend.

dipali said...

I wish more parents realised the value of just letting the kids be,
out in a park, a playground, unstructured time, nature, group dynamics, cricket and football and pitthoo and staapu, all of which were played by both boys and girls, just growing up in the shelter of benign neglect.

SUR NOTES said...

dipali: i taught the kids to play pithu and warned them that the point of the game was to hit hard, and get hurt!
Choxbox: 6 hrs of extra classes over weekends? I am so glad i am an adult in these tough times.