THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A group of kids is seen shaping aerofoils out of thermocol blocks in a corner. Asked what they were up to, a girl says, without lifting her gaze from the model she is constructing, “We are building high-cambered, uni-cambered and medium-cambered wings. Once we finish this, we’ll build ‘chuck gliders’ out of balsa wood.”
Puzzling as it sounds, the children seem to understand what they are doing in the Kerala State Jawahar Balabhavan summer camp. This camp, organised by the Department of Culture to develop and encourage the talents of children, is held in April and May.
Children aged between four and six years are put in a separate area of the camp. They are taught colouring, dancing, rhymes as well as awareness about the Malayalam language. The controlled chaos of little kids attempting to paint, dance and sing is a lovely sight. Unlike other sections, here it is the kids who keep their teachers busy. “He is eating crayons again, Miss!” a toddler says. Alarmed, the instructor rushes to the child in question, only to realise she is being pranked by the mischievous lot, who are now erupting in laughter.
The camp also has a children’s play park in the backyard. The merry-go-rounds, slides, swings and rope climbers within the park are bustling with activity at all times. Attached to this park is the skating ground. The kids skating here manage to get their share of fun by hosting races in the skating circuit out of the instructor’s sight. The music classes are seen progressing with utmost seriousness and serenity.
“With 27 activities to choose from and over 40 instructors, this camp is the oldest in Thiruvananthapuram”, says Malini S, the principal of the camp. This year, the camp has over 1,800 children, belonging to the age group from four to 16. The kids can take part in up to three activities. The camp has two sessions per day: 10 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 4:30 pm. Participants have the option to choose among them or both. Transport facility is also provided by the camp.
This year, the camp also hosts seminars and workshops by personalities including activist Rahul Easwar, playback singer B Arundhati and mathematician Palliyara Sreedharan. Notable activities include clay modelling, aeromodelling, electronics, instrumental music and skating. A theatre to screen movies for children is also being built within the camp. “The theatre will be open next year,” says Malini.