Preeti, physiotherapist with Runner's High and one of our key members visited Sita School with me. We did an introduction to all the children about running and why we were there. We started out with a few running drills (that work on various aspects of running over time) and then did a short run/walk. After the run, Kamala, the science teacher started the first session of the health module. We discussed in general about health and body. She wrote a chart with health in the middle and asked children to come up with any terms, ideas or words associated with health. Lot of interesting inputs came from the children - starting from exercise, mind, stress, hospital, how the body works etc. As the suggestions came along, Kamala sorted them in different categories on the chart. Some terms were discussed - as to which category they should fall under - medicine etc. or if they were already covered. At the end of the session, the children sat in groups and wrote down their understanding of health in general.
|More Photos are here - Sita_school_overview_health|
We gave an introduction to the children and explained the plan. The Ananya children are not new to running and we have been associated with them through two training programs - Auroville and Sunfeast 10Km runs in the past. But, this was a different experience, given that there is going to be more regular interaction and lot more learning from various perspectives. We found it challenging to get the attention from all the children. They were very excited and were not willing to focus. Preeti and I were not involved as a 'teacher' and in the past I have been more of a volunteer the kids would play and fool around with a lot! So, it was no easy task to get them to listen to me. After the run, I went with a few kids to collect some clay for their puppetry workshop. Over the many months, I have been observing the children to understand the dynamics rather than force any kind of relationship. So, they are relatively at ease around me and discuss many aspects that I believe I wouldn't have been privy to.
Unlike in Sita School or Ananya, games and physical activity was not a part of the daily routine in Prakriya. They had fixed games periods for the high school children. We were involved in discussions right from the beginning. The school caters to ICSE, IGCSE, CBSE, State Board and NIOS syllabus making the time-table process quite complicated. In the end, there was no time early in the morning or late in the evening ( better times for running and sports) for the children. We were asked to take over the games periods on Thursdays. For some of the kids this was the only games period in the entire week while for others it was one of two times in the week they get to play games. Obviously, even with our introduction the first few questions were about the games period - Whether they would get a chance to play games. I started of with an interesting trivia and then we all went out for a run. This was the first time the kids had gone out on a run. We did about 2.5 kms and the kids were quite tired and it took longer than expected. So, they got almost no time for games. The kids were a bit disappointed about this.