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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
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And Goldilocks Plays The Hairdresser

How out-of-the-box learning aids are equipping children for future adult roles

And Goldilocks Plays The Hairdresser
Getty Images (From Outlook, June 27, 2011)
And Goldilocks Plays The Hairdresser
outlookindia.com
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Away from the world of video games and the telly, kids are having so much fun learning you’d be tempted to forget their very adult struggle growing up. Excitement and interest in learning aren’t taken for granted any more: a host of subjects from the sciences and arts to music, dance, puppetry, theatre and art are slowly becoming integral to learning any “subject”. One manifestation of the blurring boundaries between mathematics and acting, for instance, is the increasing attention that is being paid to role-playing, both in and out of school. What can start with a packaged, off-the-shelf or imported chemistry set at home has led to seven-year-old doctors participating in the stethoscope examinations of mock patients in summer camp theatre, or at a local mall’s Kidzania outlet.

Role-playing is a kind of trial run for kids whose parents want them to test drive a future career—and it’s also a growing profession, which will soon require many more experts trained in child psychology, theatre, pedagogy and many other disciplines. Even a future artist has a chance of not being denied a canvas and paint box, and with luck, he could go so far as to stage a mock auction for his earliest creations.

The slow shifting away from traditional teaching, read rote learning, towards the so-called unconventional cross-discipline methods, is now not as rare outside the metros either. After several years of work in the northeast, Metamorphosis, a development communication outfit started in 2003 by Anirban Dutta, trained its attention three years ago to children in four camps housing displaced families in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh. Dutta says props—such as puppets, music and even simple toys like balloons—when used creatively as teaching aids, help in the development of young...

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