BENGALURU: It took two months for 13-year-old Akhila Shankar (name changed), who has dyslexia, to make five jute mats that exhibited in an organic fair at Purnam, a celebration of 100 years of Waldorf education. Hosted in the lush surroundings of Rudraksha Farm on Kanakapura Road, Purnam was organised by inclusive school, Kingdom of Childhood, JP Nagar. As a part of the event, they conducted talks on child development for parents, art workshops and an organic fair by children with special learning needs.
Many students like Shankar, displayed hand-crafted bracelets, key chains and table mats. The three-day event explored the Waldorf education, an alternative education methodology originated in Germany, through various sessions. “It’s a hands-on curricum that carries each one of them to their destinies.
It explores the inner abilities of a child through body movements and art. India is slowly moving from a mindset of education for a job and survival skills towards education for awareness and empowerment,” said Martyn Rawson, senior Waldorf mentor from Germany, adding that today, there are thousands of
Waldorf schools in over 60 countries.
Manivannan Ganapathy, anthroposophist; Nirupama Rao, psychologist and author; and Sushmitha Reddy, physiotherapist also delivered talks on parenting and child development on the occasion. Meanwhile, the workshops were based on math magic, music and crafts, artistic woodworking, therapeutic movement and holistic perspective to autism. Right now, Kingdom of Childhood educates 80 children among which eight are children with special abilities like Down’s syndrome, hearing impairment and so on.
Yogitha Jagadeesh, a parent, felt Purnam was a platform to celebrate the teamwork of parents, teachers and mentors. “Waldorf education doesn’t tag any kids as specially-abled or normal. They treat everyone equally. My son’s physical movements, social skills and confidence have improved after joining this school three years ago. These kinds of sessions empower us mentally,” shared Jagadeesh, mother of a nine-year-old boy, who has a developmental delay.