Most of our childhood goes in being told that every object has a specific use and using it it anyway other than that specifically mentioned will lead to specific… well… consequences. Consequences such as being phenomenally yelled at (or beaten, depending on how you were raised) for using dadima’s chhadi as a tactical weapon during the epic siege of the holy bargat ka jhad. Sooner or later, staying on the good side of the parent/teacher/tribal elder becomes so important that magick beans, X-ray goggles and the Cape of Evil return to being just cuff-links, glasses and a badly tangled mess of soup spoons, staple pins and mum’s new salwar (long story). In short, we stop playing, grow up and need to get jobs.
The problem with that equation of course, especially in an upside-down world where the education system is geared to produces masses but the job market wants to hire individuals, is the complete elimitnation of creativity from the process of growing up, because creativity is simply that – using/seeing/applying things in ways they weren’t meant to be used/seen/applied. Lateral thinking as Edward De Bono likes to call it, or being ‘out-of-the-box’ as the corporate with a boxed-in vocabulary likes to believe, is the basis of many personality traits – all of them desirable, especially in children growing up to face a drastically different reality where Doraemon has replaced Do-it-Yourself and idle time which may generate ideas that can change the world is filled up by things that will no doubt keep the world from changing.
And this is why, we bring objects in to the classroom, to allow an exploration of everyday things sans their prescribed uses. The process involves helping children see the potentials of an object by stripping away it’s identity and creating new meanings or uses for it. And though some things were broken, it was all in the pursuit of creativity and thus highly forgiveable or so I am hoping is how my mom will feel.
While younger children worked with objects in pretend-play, the older ones created “museum exhibits” and became curators of their own collections. Here are some of the highlights of the session.
Arav telling us a story of a Lion (the puppet in his hand) and a Peacock (the quill stuck unceremoniously in the djembe case), who were friends till the Lion got hungry.
And Shayan telling us about an Elephant and a Duck who were saved from a multi-dimensional whirlpool by a magick ring.
From tackling gross motor skills to promoting higher level thinking – all of it achieved through objects rounded up from my living room. A process that will carry on to the discovery of puppets, object theatre and a lot of crazy, unbjectionable ideas!