Peering Within: A Start

“We’re going to play zip-zap-zoom”: Child introducing his new playmate to the wondrous world of clapping games, or professionals briefing their new interns at a training session? You’d be surprised. Then again, pretty much every idea we had about art, learning, or an integration of the two was revolutionized over the course of our training sessions with The Looking Glass, so now we just go with it.

Lots of people have memories of that one cool teacher who always screened movies and led field trips and introduced the (radical) notion of having fun in class. Some of us are lucky to have been encouraged to find joy in learning and appreciate creativity, but not everyone is accorded that privilege. By the time September rolls round for 10th graders, their teachers are scrambling to finish the syllabus so that by March, the students are comfortably on their 17th cycle of cramming the text. While this is normally the cue for everybody to start decrying the pressure imposed on our ‘board classes’, it doesn’t exactly put the entire system in a very stellar light.

That’s where TLG comes in. Armed with paints, music, stories and smiles, The Looking Glass seeks to provide to individuals a holistic experience with a hands-on approach that gives them an entirely new window through which to understand and appreciate art in combination with education and life skills. Thus a little twist added to a playground-favourite game teaches children an important life concept, while a creativity workshop gets a corporate executive to display talent she never know she had.

From the moment we knew that we were a part of the ‘TLG-Walt Disney Project’, we have had our expectations surpassed in terms of the inventiveness of the modules, learning and the fun there is to be had- and the on-ground activities haven’t even begun yet. It is very exciting to think that with the help of these classes, a lesser-privileged child may discover a newfound love for dance, or find a sentence easier to construct, or simply become less shy than he was before.

Although we have been up to our fair share of antics during training (16 enthusiastic youngsters; what do you expect??), hopefully the little kids find their new didis and bhaiyas coherent enough to explain things. Just Kidding, Anuraag and Priyanka. Now excuse me, I have to go watch Mickey Mouse to prep for tomorrow’s class.

– Richa Gupta

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