YOUNG WORLD

Enhancing potential with fun

JOHN L. PAUL

LEARNING IS FUN: With teachers and interesting games.

LEARNING IS FUN: With teachers and interesting games.  

All work and no play certainly will make Jack a dull boy. Among the organisations engaged in organising games and other indoor and outdoor activities for children on a regular basis is the Centre for Health Intelligence Learning and Development (CHILD), based in the Sanskrit College Road, Tripunithura.

"We strive to bring about intellectual, physical and spiritual development of children. The aim is to make them socially responsible and thus better human beings. Interacting with the peer group helps children in the long run," says Dr S Girija, founder of CHILD. A doctor by profession, she has done her M. Phil in behavioural medicine and rehabilitation.

Each child's methods of studying are different. For example, some children understand better if they listen to music while studying. But parents impose their preferred method of study as `the best'.

The result will be that the child will study just to impress others. Parents seldom bother to probe the mental make-up of a child. They have to understand that too much of submissiveness is as dangerous as hyperactivity.

"We hold symposia and workshops where physical and attitudinal changes taking place in a child during adolescence and ways to deal with them, are discussed", she says.

Most parents focus only on the physical health and academic brilliance of children. Is it enough, especially at a time when soft skills are very much in focus? As the UNESCO says, `Our goal should be much more than mere physical existence of a child. The educative process should go to the very soul of the individual, seeking to unearth that which is within and facilitating the development of that potential'.

In its list of indoor activities, CHILD has included mathematical ability, memory tests and games to develop finger skills and eye-hand coordination like flower threading and pallankuzhi (where red beads are used to play). Homework is done through the process of group activity. Ultimately, this prompts hyperactive students to sit at one place, play and study. Outdoor activities include games, which build up companionship among children, like gardening and trekking.

"These activities are aimed at helping children to release negative energy and to inculcate positive attitudes and leadership qualities in them. Particularly of interest to children are nature camps and trekking expeditions to deep forests, where they are cut off from the routine of daily life — without power supply and drinking water. We take along resource persons on the trips. They give talks on topics like how it rains, ornithology and how trees grow and nourish themselves. Video clippings on the food habits of predators, ill-effects of pesticides like endosulfan and others, too are shown," says Dr Girija.

"Parents must understand that as per scientific studies, games and co-curricular activities contribute to development of the body, communication skills, sociability, self insight and creativity. It also provides an outlet for pent-up emotional energy and desires. It leads to the development of desirable personality traits," she clarifies.

Last Christmas vacation, the children were taken to rehabilitation camps where tsunami-affected persons were being accommodated. This December, a camp has been organised for children aged 11 to 16 years. The focus will be on topics like value-based education, meditation, art of public speaking and means to develop friendships and a positive attitude.

CHILD can be contacted at 0484-3951590.

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