The Patasala Montessori school in Nungambakkam has a strength of 28 kids, aged 6 to 12. My knowledge of the Montessori system is very flaky and is all from hearsay. There are many instances during parkour classes that parents like Uma Naren have pointed out that what we teach has a lot of similarities to Montessori education. But it remained a mystery to me.
I am not that great at communicating with kids. My whole life functions in my ability to foresee a scenario and being prepared for any eventuality. That gives me the confidence to charge into many things that most people would stay far away from. But when it came to the workshop, I was a little apprehensive. Kids have a unique way of throwing a monkey wrench and the entire tool box into the works.
My Team (the 3 Vs - Vishwa, Viki and Russia (Vishal)) and I, thought that storytelling might be a nice way of interacting with the kids. Enter Hans Kaushik - a sculptor, theatre artist and much more. Some of you might know him as Azhvarkadiyaan Nambi from Magic Lantern's adaptation of Ponniyin Selvan. I can describe the next half hour as the closest thing I have seen to magic in this world. I was amazed to see the kids participating in the story telling with such enthusiasm, energy, laughter and attention. Made me wish for just one of these. Imperative that I learn to laugh with such abandon and participate with such enthusiasm.
It was a simple story of a crocodile and the kids gave it life. I felt a little better than I had in many days.
After the story, we got to animal movements. There has been such a furore online over kids being overweight, inactive and addicted to computers etc. One thing I realised watching these kids was that, the parents and schools are what makes them so. So much of activity. Never a second thought about dragging themselves on the floor or just running around, requesting if they can run a little more. Being a parkour practitioner, it made me so glad to see kids wanting to run and jump.
After the entire session which lasted more than the allocated two hours (thank you Sruthi kumar) , there was a question and answer session with all the kids. And it has been such a long time since anyone including myself has asked me why I practice parkour. It was great to see that the kids understood what we wanted to show them in parkour. The fact that everyone is different and everyone can do. Just because another person thinks and acts differently, there is no reason to feel apart from them.
As we were winding up, there came requests for more workshops from the kids. Why would I ever refuse an offer of happiness, contentment and learning.