This special initiative was based on the premise that the creative side of the human brain and the imagination have no boundaries if allowed to flourish under proper guidance. Subsequently, ‘Bachcho ki Kalam se’ was piloted in May 2017 in about a dozen primary schools targeting 10-12 children of grades 3-5 in each school (over 100 children). They were given art books and crayons and several themes, not required, but to choose from. Examples included- Beti Padhao (educate daughter), Environment, Water, Swachch Bharat (Clean India), My School, etc. It was their homework assignment for the summer break.
The research shows that generally if the left side of the brain is dominant, a person is “logical” while s/he is more “creative” with right side dominance. Our vision is to provide nourishment for both sides of the brain in the formative years of learning because one needs to be logical and creative creativity to succeed in the 21st century more than ever before. One of Vidya Gyan’s creative imagination was to have a book published using the children’s artwork as a testimony that children anywhere have the potential to be creative given proper guidance, encouragement, and environment. We believed that the poor image of government schools could be improved by showcasing the talent of the children. A poorly organized artwork from different schools did not allow us to publish the book. However, Vidya Gyan asks schools to have children use one of the notebooks in grades 3-5 to write short stories/essays about different festivals, national holidays, and/or prominent leaders and draw figures (or cut and paste images) during the year.
Vidya Gyan has continued distributing stationery supplies each year with a slight modifier of distributing premade writing books in grades 1 and 2 for children to practice letters and words both in Hindi and English. We have observed that the PTP is certainly making an impact on the writing skills of children.
EFFORTS IN THE UNITED STATES: In an effort to promote “writing by hand,” Vidya Gyan engaged schools and communities in the United States at the elementary level. A group of local children were engaged in a couple of community functions. For example, writing about Diwali, India’s Festival of Light, and another group writing their thoughts on, “I am thankful for…” celebrating Thanksgiving. Subsequently, we connected with an Elementary school and initiated the project “Building Cultural Bridges.” A brief report can be viewed here.