- Sensing Nature; Knowing Nature
Bringing back beauty and enquiry in to the day-to-day life of children.
As usual this summer (April/May) also we are holding the Sensing Nature; Knowing Nature camp. For the children from the village it is from 9 am to 1 pm but for visitors activities are arranged according to their likes or they could join the village children in their activities. This year added attraction is the electric potters wheel. Do inform us of your preferred proposed arrival and duration. Only limited people can be accommodated for the camp. Off course the facilities are very minimal and no city luxury will be provided. There is a beautiful river near by which is usually dry during summer and the riverbed is converted in to an activity space.The jungle is also near by.We could organise special trecks.There are interesting experiments being carried out in alternative education/organic farming natural health etc in and aroud our place.Kanavu, an experiemntal school in Wynad is about 120 kilometers.Anuragam, an organic farm near Kollengode is 140 km.Elements,a store sell
ing organic products is situated in Calicut.
For the past 10 years I have been conducting a workshop during the two months holidays(April /May) for the children of Aruvacode .The purpose was to provide an environment for children to engage in activities that are not given in the government school to which all the children go. Usually the children are provided with colour, clay storybooks etc and in the end of two months the attendees are given the necessary things for school like school bag, books, umbrella etc.
From 2002 onwards the workshop is more organized and more focused. The emphasis is on awakening the senses, more in line with the natural tendency of children. Another important aspect is that there is no instruction and no judgments. So no work is ever considered a mistake. The children are grouped in to 5 to 6 groups where they do work related to one of the senses but are left free to explore within the groups they have chosen.
The idea is to enable the children to observe their surroundings more closely. All children are quite good at this provided they have had the freedom to explore this.
Most of the children know all the birds in the vicinity; they know how to make the cries of bird's etc What I am trying to do is to appreciate and acknowledge their natural tendency and try to enlarge their vocabulary of explored and observed things.
For example they are asked to collect various shades of dry leaves or green leaves there by enabling them to see the colour variations which they may not have noticed. This they collect and they make the colour by mixing the poster colours.
This exploration is extension of my work regarding trying to understand traditional knowledge systems where senses are the primary tools creating knowledge.
All art forms are a result of the development of one of the senses. Just as good musician needs good ears more than any thing else, a painter needs an eye that truly sees and a theater person observes life around them. So the workshop focuses more on awakening the senses than teaching any specific skills. This will do very less influence (harm) on children so that the children create with originality.
Senses are a two-way tool. As much as it connects us to the outside world it also awakens our sensitivity and helps us to know ourselves. Senses are our door to the external world and the key player in creating culture. What I mean by nature is the immediate living environment of the children to which children can engage with their senses, except TV and text which in-fact are the deterrents for the awakening of the senses. This is an observation workshop to initiating children to observe nature more intimately.
Seeing nature. Hearing nature, Tasting nature, and Smelling nature, touching nature.
The workshop is for three hours from 10 am to 1 pm. But children who are very much interested in the workshop comes by 8 am and continue till 5 pm. Generally the workshop is run by older children who assists in making sure the participants get the necessary materials and other logistics. Even though there is no workshop on Sundays for those who are interested they can work.
The workshop begins with all the children sitting in silence and hearing the sounds that usually goes unheard. Some times some good music is used. We also bring in incense stick and at the end some sweet is given and the children are asked to eat as slowly as possible. There are many sound related game children play using nature -whistles made of leaves, rattle, etc. many children are also good at imitating birds. Children are naturally inclined to listen to these sounds.
Children are asked to collect dry leaves of different shades and stick them in order. They then make the color by mixing the primary colors. This they repeat with various other colors in nature. They also do a color scale with two colours. They also bring colored leaf and reproduce the same by mixing colors. The children are given colorful magazines to tear and do collage. This they repeat with colored leaves and dry leaves. Colour is the focus of this group.
Children collect different types of leaves and draw them in detail. Children are also given twisted leaves. They also bring regular day to day objects and draw. This includes simple objects like brush, chair etc, portraits, sitting posture, and also the regular village scenes, houses etc. This group traces the lines in nature
Light and shade is introduced. The three dimensionality is explored through clay work.
Children make things/become aware of the textural qualities of objects and other qualities related to touch sense. Children also do a textural scale using various objects of varying texture. Then they make surfaces of different texture using clay. They also draw this out using pencil and paper.
There are few games children play for identifying smells. This they do with eyes blind folded.
Children are encouraged to spend a minute in silence, before they take meals making their taste sense aware.
-One group of children is involved in making the model of the village using clay.
-Making things using paper, leaf etc.
-Many of the rural games is also played in the sessions.
-Poetry, story telling/making.
-Children is introduced to medicinal plants. Children are asked to find this out from their parents.
-Theatre/observations workshop is conducted.
- From this year we are also offering clay work, pottery as we have few electric wheels.
From last year people from outside are attending the workshop. Some times they come for just a days visit or stay as long as they want.
-I also plan to bring this out a book based on the workshops conducted so far. Any help is welcome for this event.
Do contact me if you are interested.
Route to Aruvacode
The Route to Nilambur is as follows.There is a train from Shornur to Nilambur at 5 .45 am from Palgaht and it reaches nilambur road Railway station at 8.45.Aruvacode is about 4 km from here.Auto takes about Rs 35 to 40.If you miss the train then there are lot of buses to Nilambur from Palghat.From the KSRTC stand board any bus going to Calicut ( Kozhikode) - Get down at Perinthalmanna and take bus to Nilambur.Aruvacode is one kilometer befor Nilambur.You could take an Auto back or get down at Kodathi ppadi ( Court) and It is 4 minuts walk.Ask for Aruvacode/Kumbham/Jinan/Potters village(kumbharanmar) etc.You could also come via Mysore-Gudlur-Vazhikadavu and Nilambur by Bus.There is a night bus from banglore to Nilambur which leaves Banglore at 9 pm and reaches Nilambur by 6am. Calicut is 70 kilometrs from Nilambur.So for people taking the Konkan route then Calicut is the railway station.
Timings and other logistics
The workshop will begin on 4th april and end on 28th saterday.For out station people we will organise trecks etc.
The fees as contributions are welcome as we will have to organise stay/food etcSuggested fee as follows.Food for adults Rs 80/ Rs 50, and for stay Rs 100 per day.Also do make contributions for material etc of Rs 50 per day.This is for the materials /clay preparations etc.If milk etc is needed do let us know in advance.
I would like to join the camp. As currently I'm working in Andhra, I'll inform you abt the dates(hoping that one can join in between), as per my leave approval.
Best wishes for the success of the camp.
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