TAMIL NADU

When the past comes into play

REVIVING TRADITION: Participants at a workshop at the Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children in Chennai on Wednesday. PHOTO: K.V. SRINIVASAN

REVIVING TRADITION: Participants at a workshop at the Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children in Chennai on Wednesday. PHOTO: K.V. SRINIVASAN  



Staff Reporter

Traditional games can help special children develop motor skills, dexterity, comprehension Traditional games can help special children develop motor skills, dexterity, comprehension

CHENNAI: Ludo, pallankuzhi, five stones, snakes and ladders do these games bring back fond memories of playing with cousins and idling away time?

But Dr. V. Balambal, a history professor, says such games are a lot more than just a way to spend time. They can help special children develop motor skills, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, comprehension and understanding.

The professor, who has authored a book on traditional games in Tamil Nadu, was speaking at a workshop on how traditional games can help special children.

At the workshop held at the Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children, she said pallankuzhi was known as `mancala' in Europe. Researchers from the Netherlands and Spain were studying the subject of traditional games, she said.

"Even in early times, men and women played to express happiness," she said, pointing out that it contributed to mental and physical welfare. The games still not disappeared from villages.

In the course of her research, she discovered that there were nearly 100 games relating to moving coins on squares. "Dice games have been inscribed on the stone floors of ancient temples. This shows that people gathered to play games in temples, which were the centres of activity."

The study of games such as chaturanga (a form of chess) which had lost its glory in India, the land of its origin, but had spread worldwide revealed information on the sociological, psychological, anthropological, economic and historical factors of life, she said.

Jaya Krishnaswamy, programme coordinator, said the workshops began on May 24, and included preparation of materials for activities by Prema Daniel, using Upaneetha software by Sudarshan, behaviour modification by developmental psychologist P. Jeyachandran, feeding techniques by S. Jayam of Vijaya Health Centre and flower remedies by S. Balakumar.

Vimala Kannan, principal of the centre, said the training, organised each year before school re-opened, served as a refresher for teachers and trainers working with exceptional children.

V. Krishnaswamy, director, said Vimala Venkatesan, Educational Consultant and director of Bhavani Child Development Centre would be speaking on care and specialised remedial services for children.

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