“Spirit must be cultivated; it must be
nourished and encouraged.
If it is, then a child's innocent spirit grows up
to be strong enough to
withstand the harsh realities of an
often unspiritual world".
The malleable properties of play dough make it fun for a quiet form of meditation, investigation and exploration as well as fine motor skill development and secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons, making them ready for better strength and control later on. We have found pottery to be one of the more engaging activities for children. We have witnessed firsthand how invaluable the experience of 'working on the wheel' is for motor skills, sensory development, self esteem, and self expression, problem solving skills, discipline, and a sense of creative pride. The activity at once settles and calms the children as they patiently wait their turn to handle the clay, then as they create pieces that they can't believe came from their own little hands! Our potter, Bhajibhai, is a gentle, compassionate soul who is skilled at encouraging the kids to 'get their hands dirty' and try different techniques.
Art and Craft
Our goal with art - which I believe we have certainly achieved in this camp - is to help our kids achieve a state of FLOW. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that people (yes even little ones) find genuine satisfaction during a state of consciousness called FLOW. In this state they are completely absorbed in an activity, especially an activity which involves their creative abilities. During this “optimal experience” they feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities.” In the footsteps of Maslow, Csikszentmihalyi insists that happiness does not simply happen. It must be prepared for and cultivated by each person, by setting challenges that are neither too demanding nor too simple for one's abilities.
Community and Altruism
Through the Akesia Charitable Trust, Akesia Whole Child works with the Maharashtra Nature Park to deliver programs to the children of the adjacent Dharavi slums, and with local special needs schools to provide programs to children with disabilities or limited ability to pay.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.