Tuesday 8 October 2013

Pratham Books Champions : Manjula Solanki and Aditi Mackwan

The following story was sent to us by Aditi Mackwan who conducted a storytelling session with Manjula Solanki.
Aditi is a Masters in Social Work and has been with Pratham in Gujarat since five years. Aditi takes care of the Early Childhood Development programs and English learning in Gujarat. She has built a team of community teachers on an understanding of development of children in the early years –right from getting them certified and running happy hours with children and creating awareness on mother involvement. Aditi now takes Early Childhood development programs to the rural areas working both with children and mothers.
Manjula is a teacher and trainer in the Early Childhood Program Team., Pratham Gujarat. She is a keen learner and aspires to create larger awareness on mother’s involvement in early childhood years. She and her colleagues carry out camps with mothers in the urban slum communities – helping them to understand the importance of communicating with children – including story telling as an important tool to do so.

Story Telling at Vadsar – Gandhinagar district

Vadsar is a big village in Gandhiangar district. It is also an air force base i Gandhinagar district of Gujarat Pratham works in this village with 3 to 5 year old kids for pre school component and with primary schools to strengthen the basics of reading, writng and math.

Manjula and me, (Aditi) had planned to conduct the story telling session in this village on 9th September We chose this day as it was a government holiday in schools, for ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’, As a result of the holiday, 40 children participated! Mrs. Naina, the pr- school teacher helped in getting children come for our ‘story telling session’. 

My colleague Mrs. Manjula was excited for our story telling session and her excitement was justified, she had prepared herself for the story “Badalo ka icecream” which she planned for the session. As a part of the preparation she made puppets of the characters (Sarla and Pari) and made things (badalo kiice cream and kites). She brought many kites which she made at her home.

Around 9:30 in morning all 40 children scampered to the pre school center. The children were aged from 6 to 14 years, and were from Standard 1 to 7. The center was noisy for the first few minutes, as children were eager to know what we were going to do with them! To settle them, we did a warm up activity..where they had to raise their voice by seeingManjula’s hand movement . if the hand went upward then the voice had to be raised and when the hand came downwards, then they lowered their voices. Children thoroughly enjoyed the activity, and we were ready to start our story of the day! Before we began with the story, we explained about ‘World literacy day’ and had a brief discussion on reading the story books.

During our interaction with children, as we observed children’s concentration, Manjula had started the story by introducing the characters involved in the story. She then began the story wither small cut outs. She took 15 to 20 minutes to finish her story on “Badalo ka Icecream”. Manjula asked the children questions on the story.. and was delighted with their answers. The energy increased as they moved towards the next activity with the children that is asking children the end of story in their own thoughts. She asked the children what would happen if the Angel has not met Sarla’s Kite? Children answered giving their views and that is how Manjula motivated children to write the same story in their own words. The most pleasant part was that pre school children also sat and enjoyed the story rather than going home with their parents.

Next, I asked the children to tell me about the journey of our story book –( the people involved in making a story book.} The answers from the children were limited to the ’writer’ of the book. As it ‘speaking time’ for me, I helped them go through the journey of a book. Older children were happy to know the different professions and people involved - getting to know about the writer, translator, illustrator and the publisher.

Last of all, it was doing time and the children were asked to make small groups and they actually ‘made’ kites. Manjula had brought all the necessary material to make the kites. Just as we distributed the 3 material, children made nice and colourful kites in their groups, and gave a name to the kite and their group like, Balveer, Krishna, Chhota bhim – all their favorite television show characters.

The hours we spent today were so much fun! Not only for the children, but for us story tellers too, we enjoyed and had the feeling of gaining something. 

And as it was the “Shubh Shuruat” for my day, I proceeded to my next task, and, at the end, I had the good feeling of a much satisfied day.

Thank you for spreading the joy of reading!

This International Literacy Day, Pratham Books has taken a 1000 steps towards a 'Reading India'

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. Last year Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day and we conducted over 250 storytelling sessions. This year we are delighted that over a 1000 sessions are happening across the length and breadth of the country.We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

This blog contains stories sent in by all our champions. Browse through the blog for more stories. You can also go through the tags on the right side of the blog to find stories happening in your own city.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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