Sunday, November 6, 2016

Montessori school workshop

Sensei Janaki has begun a Ikebana workshop for children, and here is her account of it.  The workshop started on October and will go on until December.


"A casual mention that I am an Ikebana teacher got the attention of my dear friend Mrs. Bhavani Kumar who runs Patasala Montessori School in Chennai.  She had been looking for someone to conduct floral based activities for children and thought introducing children to Ikebana would fit the bill.

The "kit"
This program is part of a series of life skill workshops that encourage the work of the hand. As Maria  Montessori said: "The hand is the tool for intelligence". These workshops usually involve learning skills that are useful in daily life. The school invites passionate resource people to come in and share their expertise. In the end the children absorb more of the passion and inspiration than the techniques themselves.

A couple of months of planning and preparation and the workshop took off on October 21, 2016, with seven students of age 7 to 10 years. It is spread over eight sessions, every Friday from 1 to 2.30 pm. The children have their own complete kit of suiban, a small vase, cutters, floral foam, a bowl, water tubes, napkin, and a cane basket to keep all the things in, besides introductory notes.

The highly interactive workshop includes an introduction to Ikebana, basic upright and slanting styles as well as lessons on using different containers and material, and for festive occasions. Each session comprises a demo of the day’s lesson; children will then do a piece on their own and record their observations either in writing or drawings. The concluding session will see children making their own piece independently and open to parents to view them.

The students’ curiosity, quick perception and learning skills are amazing.  Even as I began on my piece, they observed that the stems formed a triangle at the base as well as at the top. The calmness and natural look of the piece appealed to them, and even said it resembles a pond and colourful plate of food –think Masterchef!

The joy with which they participate is infectious and inspiring. Many thanks to Bhavani and the school for this opportunity.  Looking forward to many more such events and many thanks to Malathi sensei and all my Ikebana friends for their guidance and support."









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