Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dance with Joy

The four of us, (Asba, Srishti, Suhaan and Usha) accompanied by Roohi aunty went to Auroville, Pondicherry for a dance/circus workshop. The workshop was held in our teacher, Calou’s circus dome. The dome was white and made of metal, with a blue and green fibreglass circle on the very top, to let the light in.
The circular floor was red-oxide on the outside, cement inside, with tiles decoratively placed everywhere. There was a wooden seating along the edge of the floor. Around the fibreglass, there were metal rods, from which there hung pink and green aerial silks, and trapezes.

At one end of the dome, there were two sliding doors with mirrors, that out to a small storage room. It had a spongy mattress, yoga mats, magic chairs, juggling balls, hula hoops and unicycles.
We started off with simple yoga stretches. This was followed by Calou demonstrating simple moves on the looped aerial silk. She also showed us some acro yoga. We then moved onto the aerial silks, where we learned to climb up in two different ways and come down gracefully. She taught us to do splits, flips and how to hold ourselves up without our hands.                                                                                        

By the second day, our arms were sore, and we couldn’t lift our own bodies. We could barely climb up 10 ft and wrap our feet around the silks; Calou had to help us with that. We also spent a lot of time on the trapeze, which was seven feet off the floor.
We stood on it, hung from it, and wrapped ourselves around it and let go of our hands! We used ‘magic’ chairs to do shoulder stands and flips. We also juggled. It required a lot of concentration and was quite difficult. Finally, Calou showed us a few tricks with hula-hoop and we were done. Calou was friendly, and a very good teacher. She spoke with a thick French accent.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dhrupad Week

In an attempt to bring music into Shibumi and deepen the learning space at Shibumi we had a Dhrupad retreat with Pelva Naik, It was a week long rigorous engagement with the artist.

Plelva brought a new rhythm into the space. For our oldest children it was a residential retreat as they participated in the morning 'kharaj' practice with the artist. The younger ones had an hour long singing session and some activities that deepened our engagement with our learning.

Another beautiful element that this week brought was the bringing together of Teachers and Students as learners. The vertical age groups in which we learnt the Dhrupad was from our littlest 5 year old to our oldest 68 year old.

All children were struck by sound. Some were drawn to sound and vibrations of the tanpura. Some were humming the notes of the bandish. Some had their fingers busy keeping the jhaptaal. It was fascinating how Pelva's passion for this style of music was what touched each one of us. Some of us entered this week of Dhrupad with some resistance, but at the end of the week there was the relationship to the sound that was above all likes and dislikes.

Learning at the Land

The beginning of this academic year has been wonderful for us all. Interactions with our new campus have begun. 

The Ketaki and Tulsi groups (our littlest ones) have been spending three mornings a week at the 'new land'.

It was wonderful to watch and learn with the children. Being outdoors, participating in the construction process, mingling with the civil workers, cleaning the land, tractor rides, quiet observation activities, cooking and nature walks have all added a wonderful flavour to the learning for the last two months. 

This frequent contact with nature has brought about sensitivity which is not measurable. It also naturally created lots space in our rhythm to be alone and quiet.  

Helping with the brick making.

Activity Time for all.

The games field is almost ready :)

Discovering some natural colours

Half an hour of Shibumi care at the New Land.

Walks on a hillock close to the New land

During Quiet Observation, while a child was looking at a leaf, he met little spider friends.
Joy rides!

Slowly the buildings are also rising up!

Our local Vet and Herriot fan comes to medicate our puppies :)
And Dr. Chandrashekar patiently answers all the questions before he goes :)

We spotted a tiny turtle in the tank. Without any instruction, the children gather around the tank quietly and hopefully gaze into the water. they much more than the turtle.

Friday, June 23, 2017

What in the world would I do with a bunch of wooden sticks?

Last year, Inwoods Small School gifted us a box of Kapla sticks. They are small and flat blocks of wood around 4″ x 1″ x .25.” wide. The blocks are so basic they can be morphed into just about anything a child can imagine. What is amazing to watch is how the children hold the blocks, enjoy the feel of wood, smell them and start playing.Initially not knowing what they want to create but in the act of engaging with the blocks, something emerges .... and often crashes! 

 It is play without an obvious end, beginning, number of participants, rules, winning, loosing and free of the known.

Also the conversations and learning is immense. From comparisons of heights , attention to breath while placing the blocks, speaking with care to ones peers and openness to the gust of wind that brings it all crashing to the floor in a moment!