Making language fun for tiny tots

His rhymes and language cards, made to make learning fun, are often circulated on the WhatsApp groups of teachers and students.
'Chiripathayam' book cover
'Chiripathayam' book cover

KOCHI :

Vithu vithacha vayalil vilakal,

Valarnnu varunnath kandolu...,

Vandukal paravakal vayalil nithyam

Vilavukal thinnan varavaayi...

This rhyme, written in simple language, circulated in many class WhatsApp groups of the pre-primary and primary students during the summer vacation with excited tiny tots quickly learning the words and singing along.

Written by Sasidharan Kalleri, a primary school teacher based in Eloor, this simple four-line rhyme aims to make language and concepts easier for young learners. Recently, the teacher, who won the state award for the best teacher in 2022, published ‘Nilaapookal, a collection of 50 Malayalam rhymes for children who joined the first standard this year.

“I used to write stories and poems during the Covid times as I felt I should do something to help the children, especially as there was a gap in education due to the lockdown and closure of schools,” says Sasidharan, popularly known as Kalleri Maashu. He has published five collections of nursery rhymes so far and is set to publish a collection in English soon.

His rhymes and language cards, made to make learning fun, are often circulated on the WhatsApp groups of teachers and students. “We have distributed the PDFs of these rhymes among teachers. They sent it one by one every day in the group. Children learn and send the audio of them reciting in the group. When one child does it, it motivates other parents to teach their child,” he adds. The aim is to help children remember letters and grammar they have studied in school, he adds.

What helps him construct these fun poems, he answers: Experience. The author has been working as a teacher for the past 33 years.

Kaveri Sreeni, parent of Anusree, a second standard child at the Kuttichira LPS, says the initiative has helped enhance the language skills of several students. “These rhymes are easy to learn and we use them to teach her daily,” she says. At a time when Malayalam does not receive the importance that it deserves, Kaveri says, these rhymes are useful for teaching kids their mother tongue effortlessly.

Sasidharan recently released as many as 50 reading cards with simple sentences. “We prepared reading cards in both English and Malayalam with particular themes. The students can learn about nature, mother and more, things they should learn and understand at this age,” Sasidharan smiles.

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