I visited India in October to offer support to families and teachers from Christian mission school in Kachamaranahalli on the outskirts of Bangalore. The teaching community guided by Lambert and Ansu engaged in discussions during a training session that looked at teaching and learning strategies. We discussed the importance of giving children a voice and found ways to plan more open ended-learning opportunities. I offered a workshop in which parents were able to engage in hands-on activities with their children using natural resources. It was a new way to interact with children for parents and some of the teachers too. My time with teachers and parents helped me understand what the needs of the community in Kachamaranahalli are. This inspired me to write the article called Spontaneity Makes Learning Meaningful.
When the learning environment is set out for interactions occur naturally, something truly magical happens. How we use those interactions to teach children to use the skills they learn along the way truly matters. When we observe children we are giving them a chance to be who they are. Only when we learn about who they are we can offer them what they need. We discussed ways to observe children and use spontaneous responses to plan Literacy activities and the response from the children was wonderful.
I also visited the slums in Pune where I spent time with a group of women from all kinds of backgrounds. We discussed life aspirations and family values in their community and I felt humbled after being part of their community. These ladies brought to the surface the need to offer children time to enjoy simple moments in life. This reflection inspired some of my subsequent work on the value of observations.