Monday, July 25, 2016

Our Pond

The pond at Shibumi has held everyone's attention ever since it was built. It was a project taken up by some 12-13 year old children who worked at it with much enthusiasm.  It took some time and a mason's help to finish the structure, and then it was time to fill it.It wasn't very easy to get it filled up and keep it that way as it was the peak of the dry season, and there were doubts that the pond was leaking. 
Questions about, weather to keep it filled, what plants to put in, whether to put in fish or not and weather a re-plastering was needed, were heating up.


Well, all this kept happening and one evening the pond was filled. Some fish were put in and from one of the walks the children brought a lily plant. The fish thrived but the lily was struggling. Soon there was no sign of the lily plant. It wasn't there anymore.
Mostly, after this, the pond has been alone, except for getting filled up occasionally during the dry season. We were all, of course, continue to be fascinated with the pond, spotting a snake, testing the boats. 
After some months a lily leaf appeared again.
The plant reappeared and and last week we had the first lily flowering. It stood there, in the middle of the pond holding all in awe. One of its admirers, a dog, who happened to go too close to it, ended up slipping taking it down with him. A day later the lily was back up, gently swaying in the wind, saying hello to everyone.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Blocks- for learning













Wooden blocks lends itself to learning effortlessly. Here are some ways we have seen children engage with wooden blocks.
The children have a countless possibilities and can use their imagination. While playing with wooden blocks the younger children develop muscle coordination, discover how different objects feel in their hands, think about shapes and patterns. Improve eye-hand coordination and build strength in a child's fingers and hands.
Most of all we have seen how the blocks lend itself to creative play, interaction with each other while building together and it gives imagination a free licence, which is important. Children can potentially develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes, and positions.
Then of course one has experiences with gravity, balance, and geometry is learned from wooden blocks.
My favorite , is watching children of all ages work together and create things together. Children from age 5 to age 17 are sometimes found creating, interacting, laughing, grabbing (sharing!) blocks and playing together.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ladki pe ghoda


Mahiti (Age 8) has been facinated with horses. Wanting to draw horses, paint them, stitch them. Last year for our Poetry mela she chose a poem about how to love a horse  to illustrate and share with others. The other day , she was swinging on the tyre swing and walked up to me with a smile on her face.

When she was sure I  was listening to her she shared ....

 'I have an idea! I want to make a horse I can ride. See , I will explain.... --looks around... finds a cardboard box.... gets into it...-- so, I want the horse around me , so I can ride it. and we can use some boxes for the neck and head.'




Our learning space for the young children is consciously stocked with a variety open-ended material. For the children to easily access, use, play and learn with.

Cardboard boxes are a open-ended resource material that lends itself to versatile unstructured play/learning beautifully.

It takes the children on an adventure and helps them explore the imaginary places in their minds.










Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lunch Time



Before lunch one sees Aman (the boy in the green T-shirt-5years) walk purposefully towards our tiny garden and get a banana leaf for lunch. He sprinkles water on the leaf to clean it, serves his food onto the leaf with the main rice item in the lower part of the leaf and the side dishes on the upper part!He then smiles at the food served and starts eating with his hands. When he is done, he fold his leaf and walks to the cow to give it the banana leaf!

He noticed some of us were smiling at him perform this food art and has volunteered to get banana leaves for all of us who are interested to eat on one.

Looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Snake Dance


This was a beautiful sight , that the entire Shibumi family witnessed after our evening quiet time. Two snakes coiled around each other in a seemingly affectionate dance. This tussle we thought was a mating dance, when Sanjay (our snake enthusiast –age 17), shared with us that all is not as it seems! He shared with us that the rat snakes are actually two male snakes  who are fighting for dominance, to defend their territory and then go on to mate with the female.

Not knowing what was happening, it was still beautiful to watch the two snakes perform the 'dance’ by wrapping around each other.

When I watched this later while sharing it with some friends, I was struck by how 40 of us were watching this in such silence!





A Walk to Remember

Last week the Ketaki’s (Age 7 to 9) went for a walk, the plan was to go mulberry picking in a gated community. Mulberries, we had heard were filled in the bushes and we were so excited to collect our wild edibles. We strolled into the lush green gated community to fill ourselves with delicious mulberry fruit. A couple of steps into our adventure, it started to drizzle, and then the rain got a bit heavy ...we wished we had umbrellas with us... but nothing was going to stop us from reaching the mulberries. 

As we giggled and fussed about the rain, we saw a man walking towards us with 6 to 8 umbrellas in his arms and one over his head. We started to whisper to ourselves ‘let’s ask that uncle for the umbrellas!’. He approached us, and as he passed a child, he reached out to give an umbrella to them! We were surprised, thrilled and felt magic in the air! 

He was our monsoon Santa Clause!
(We learnt soon, that one of our parents who lived on the campus had sent her helper with the umbrellas, we felt thankful and cared for)




Armed with umbrellas, we walked to the mulberry bushes. We were delighted to see bushes bursting with Mulberries, deep red, black, white and purple. We decided not to attack the bushes completely and picked the ripe ones we could reach and let the ones we couldn’t reach for the birds(a bit reluctantly).


The mulberries we delicious!

Sarang (a parent of the Shibumi-the thought behind our umbrellas) then treated us to yummy snack in her house. Where we filled in our nature journals and some of us even painted with the mulberries we had collected. They have an amazing colour.

We reached Shibumi in time for lunch with our wild harvests of mulberries, jamuns and gooseberries.
After lunch some of the children with Roohi (a parent of Shibumi- who is the heart of our kitchen) made a super yummy mulberry jam and shared it with everybody!


So much learning happened with the mind so awake and taste buds so pampered.