After weeks of lessons on rivers, chart making and clay modeling…the long awaited Project Day had finally arrived. The kids arrived early, very excited and looking smart in their clean uniforms. There was an atmosphere of suspense as we waited for our guests to arrive and finished off the last minute preparations. In the science zone, we added the fish (collected the previous day by Ayshweria, myself and a handful of hyper children from the nearby dirty river!) to our make shift river, in the library we laid out the straw mats on the floor and tidied away a few leftover books and in the Junior school we were already so well prepared the children just sat nicely and practiced their singing!
At 10.30, Gandhiji’s grandson, our chief guest, finally arrived. The children nervously filed into the dining hall to sit amongst their parents and watch the first part of our event unfold. We were beginning with a display of music, drama, dance and debate, this was in order to showcase the variety of work our children do and the holistic way in which they learn. Archana (a pupil from Gangaclass) opened with a welcome speech. Krishna class continued with some classical Indian music, followed by a dance group who were all decked out in beautiful costume and make up, there was a skit by Banyan class, Kaveri sang and there was a debate with a few children from Ganga and Krishna. Overall, despite the odd fumbling over words or wrong step in the dance, our kids were so professional, standing up on stage in front of all their parents and our special guests and performing like that.
At the end when the chief guest made his speech of thanks and was talking to the children about their dreams and ambitions, they all answered with things like football or volleyball players, a professional dancer and typically from Manav ‘a bird watcher like Salim Ali.’ From a westerner’s perspective these dreams of our children are simply that-a dream which will never grow up to be reality. But here in India, for a child to think so wildly and imaginatively to want to choose volleyball as a career path, that’s completely unheard of! Any Indian pupil would likely answer Gandhiji’s grandson’s question with the ambition of becoming a doctor or a lawyer or (especially likely) an engineer. Our audience and special guests were shocked by these hopes for the future and were completely enamoured by our children.
After the initial programme had finished, the guests and parents made their way around the classrooms. Science was first and the pressure was on to make a good impression. Our kids had learnt exactly what they wanted to say in order to explain their charts and the different experiments they were doing, and they seemed pretty nervous! In the end they just spoke off the cuff and explained things in their own words, which suited our guests much better. They did a great job and before we know it the science zone was relieved of special guests as they moved on to the other classrooms. I escaped from science and made my way over to the Junior school. We quietly sang some songs and waited patiently, unfortunately our guests had no more time to spare as they had arrived late and all needed to be somewhere else. A few of them poked their heads round the door but there was nothing more than a glance at everyone’s hard work. I was so disappointed for our children who had been practicing their drama and songs for months. But never mind, there’s annual day coming soon!
What was meant to be a half day for both students and teachers rolled into a full day for the teachers – so my washing still hadn’t begun! We ended our months of hard work with a good old chat about how proud we were of everything that had been achieved. Needless to say we were unanimous in the opinion of how well the day had gone and looked forward together to the term to come.