Learning from the Field- MHB Colony Malad West

EMPOWER through play: endurance leads to empowerment 
Date: Wednesday 8th August

As we sneak in, simon says is stirring up the children's stamina for the session. Unruffled by Habeeba (Toybank intern) and I entering in to the classroom, enthralled by the field officer, as he announces instructions. Obediently listening and acting on every word he utters, the children are determined to win. If not, they are far from being disheartened as they silently sit and carry on fixated by the current of the game. One child wins and all applaud. Prancing and smiling, the kids gather in a circle to now carry on with the listening skills illustrated in Simon says. Field officer commands them to disburse in to four groups. After the formation, each group is given a game. Let the play begin! 
No grappling is seen, as envisaged by myself from past experience in European classrooms. Sharing is key. It is emitted by each child in their own way, as they are aware that these games involve team work. Such an understanding to be achieved at such a young age is fascinating to detect during play and is clearly radiated in this class full of keen girls and boys bouncing off each others delight and determination.

Three girls and a boy beam their bright eyes and curious smiles up at me. As I allow them to begin their game before intruding, they are close to giving up already. Figuring out this game requires patience, power and perception. Agitated and annoyed, ready to pack it in, I explain the rules and magnificently, they almost instantly change their minds to give it a go. Exhilarated by the point of the game, encouraged by my presence, each formation is tackled. The sea puzzle requires numeracy, communication and listening skills as each level gets harder. Naturally, the boy takes team leader as he exhibits confidence in every decision he makes. Each girl glows and gather their own energy from the boys management skills, as they work together and achieve every different puzzle quicker each time I unfold the formation that is required to be made. Every time a creation was constructed each smile shines with even more confidence, determination and courage. 

~ Grace Grossman, Toybank Intern


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