Fitzroy North Community School
We were warmly welcomed at the door by bright smiling children and their teacher. They were all so eager to help us bring in our things that we had brought for the program. They offered us water and presented us with a tour around their colossal school building. The students had been eagerly waiting for us to come and present our Vedic Indian culture as per the teacher’s description.
We had mixed age groups of students attending the program, some between 5 to 8, and others were 11-12 year olds in the groups. They had requested for us to present garland making, Henna art, and music/dance. We had 3 sessions of each workshop which we ran simultaneously. There was great cooperation among the students and staff as we clearly noticed across all the groups of children we met.
The children were very keen to try everything we had to offer. Henna art seemed to be an exciting concept and a few even said that they had seen this art done in markets and were excited that they were going to learn how to do this art form. After a short presentation, they all traced an outline of their hands and drew the design that they were going to have on paper, before attempting to use the henna cones. The outcome was amazing. Many required some guidance to use the henna cones to draw the designs on their hands, while others worked in pairs and drew on each other.
Their eyes lit up as they walked into the room and saw the assorted colours of carnations we had laid out on the table for them. They watched the presentation on garland making and interacted well in answering questions that were put before them. Ready-made garlands of assorted flowers, colours and fragrance were used as demos. They then went through the bags of assorted flowers and worked out the colour combination of how their garland was going to look before starting to make their garland. They all worked well to create a garland for someone special. The only thing that they found a little tricky was rethreading the needle as it occasionally came off the thread. All the garlands the children made looked very beautiful!!!
Music and dance was very enthusiastically received by the students. They were willing to try all the various instruments we had brought Harmonium, kartals (hand cymbals), and Indian drum mrdanga. They then learnt an amazing song we had taught them in an efficient manner which was quite evident when they were put to the test by the quiz. The teachers, students, parents and siblings gracefully copied and danced the steps that was shown to them. We could see how well coordinated they were in remembering the steps and singing at the same time. They could have kept singing and dancing if time was not a factor.
All the students gathered in the hall with their teachers. Some students and a teacher on behalf of the school thanked us, and everyone applauded. We thanked them for having us and presented the teachers with special garlands and sweets, and distributed cupcakes to the students.
We were seen out by some students whom on their own had offered to help us. Great cooperation and a sense of willingness to help us seemed to come so naturally to these children. We were honoured to be in their presence.