CREATIVITY IS INTELLIGENCE HAVING FUN
by Hirani Khant
Published: 12th October 2019
Hirani Khant is a student at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She studies Occupational Therapy and has worked with RKF in the past to deliver Oral Hygiene and Arts & Crafts Workshops.
The moment I heard “children”, I was automatically drawn towards the RKF workshops. I personally value childhood a lot and feel like it is an essential part of development and I have always believed extra-curricular activities play an important role in this. Unfortunately, many schools in Kisumu, especially those in the slums and rural areas, do not have adequate financial support to provide students with extra-curricular activities. These workshops are a step in the right direction to increase opportunities the children can have by developing their non-academic skills. It is the little things that make a big difference.
Why Arts and Crafts? The Arts and Crafts workshop is aimed to provide students in the schools we visited with a session that explored their creativity but also to give them a break from their daily student life. Creativity is as important as literacy. Little children are masters of the moment - they love the way it feels when they smear paint on paper, how it looks when they sprinkle glitter, and even the soft sound a brush makes as it crosses the page. Fostering creativity won't just increase the child's chances of becoming the next Picasso but also help him/her develop mentally, socially, and emotionally. That is the reason why I was so drawn to Einstein’s quote that I chose for the title of my blog: Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun.
During the workshops, I noticed how the crafts activities were building teamwork, communication and social skills in the children just as much as they were in the team of volunteers. What I loved most, was how the children were ready to listen and follow instructions well with excitement and curiosity. The RKF team had planned a variety of crafts and activities for each class based on their skillset and ages so that children could enjoy and learn at the same time.
The volunteers were split into teams and each team helped each class learn about their given artwork or craft. This included but wasn’t limited to:
creating a legume tree on manilla paper by sticking beans in the shape of a tree
making caterpillars and boats with cardboard egg trays
teaching the children the way different colours are formed from mixing primary colours
handprint painting (all the children stamping their hand prints on one paper with paint),
wool and cardboard alphabet and numbers (wrapping wool around different shaped cardboard letters and numbers)
For the primary school children, activities with higher skills were designed, for example:
making a Kenyan map with nails on a wooden board and attaching wool strings around the nails to make a beautiful pattern
making a dustbin with plastic bottles (encouraging the theme of recycling along with the creativity of making the bin)
making face masks using scraps of paper
mosaic and making “hand-birds”
During the first workshop, the volunteers found it challenging to work with paints with the youngest children at the ECD Centres as it got quite messy. We realised very quickly that the pre-primary activities needed to be a bit simpler considering their ages. So we learnt from our first workshop and improvised our activities to take this into account. For example instead of using their hands to make hand stamps, we made paper stamps so the children could dip them in the paints and stamp it without getting their clothes and school furniture dirty. We also changed the legume sticking activity to a colouring activity, where the children coloured different shaped sea creatures and plants that were later stuck onto a large paper creating an aquarium. These were small changes made in the activities that would be useful for future workshops, as it allowed the students to participate and engage more with less assistance from the volunteers.
The best part about working with The Rahul Kotak Foundation for these workshops was their resourceful mindset in designing and implementing the workshops. A lot of the arts/crafts were made out of either waste, recycled material of items that were already easily available in most classrooms. Most of the equipment needed for the activities were re-used and all volunteers ensured nothing was wasted. This is an essential part of a non-profit organisation, in my opinion; where the donors’ money is carefully and effectively used on resources for which I would give RKF a definite 5-star.
All in all, this was an amazing and memorable experience, which was made much more fun when working with enthusiastic and passionate volunteers. I look forward to my next trip to Kenya to be a part of this awesome team yet again!