Monday, 8 August 2016

Helping Out at Little India

My first official experience as a parent-volunteer (PV) was to help out at a learning journey with Baby's class. 

You wouldn't believe how competitive it is to be a parent volunteer in her class! In the beginning of the year, I had emailed the form teacher indicating my interest to be a parent volunteer for learning journeys. The teacher responded 'Noted' in her reply. However, I realised that the upcoming learning journey's PV vacancy was booked in advance by another mother nearer to the date of the first learning journey.

When the second learning journey was on the lips of Baby, and no letter had yet been given, I quickly sent a message to the teacher to tell her that I wanted to be a PV for the learning journey.

She responded,"You are the first!" and I got it.
We reached the heart of Little India after about thirty minutes on the bus.

The children were shown traditionally embraced Indian cultural items at a small cultural centre with a rather long lecture.

The guide showing and explaining about a unique architecture whose design consists of different cultural elements and influences ie. Western, Peranakan, Chinese and Malay.

I was extremely relieved when the guide finally took the children out on an outdoor journey!
During the break, the children saw a dead mouse and a boy or two tried touching it. The guide dished out a sombre lecture on how rats have harmful germs and bacteria on them and why the children should not have attempted touching it. The mood of the children instantly dipped to a drastic low.

We visited the Indian Heritage Centre where the children enjoyed trying on the different head gears and learnt about the history of different types of occupational uniforms or costumes which I doubt the seven- or eight-year-olds were likely to retain much.

Of course, the guide would not have missed out on one of the most important figures in India.

The children were asked if they would like to have Henna done on their hand and it would have been a wonder if they had said no!
Those who were keen on a Henna paid fifty cents each to the waiting Henna artists who did a quick and simple drawing on one of their hands.

It was a shame that too much time was spent listening to the guide's talk indoors earlier in the day. The children had to give the temple visit a miss, when the temple encompasses the essence of the Indian culture. 

Instead, the children were sat at a void deck to watch a demonstration of how the traditional Indian costumes were put on, which concluded the learning journey. The children watched in amusement as their friends were asked to don the unfamiliar costumes. 

The teacher and PVs were amused by something else though. A man approached us and asked if the guide could lower his volume as his booming voice was a source of noise pollution to the people working in a centre next to where the children were gathered.

Subsequently, on the learning journey itself, I learnt from another PV that the co-form teacher was asked not to come along as there were too many PVs for the trip! Indeed, four PVs and a teacher for a class of barely thirty was above and beyond what is required! Have you heard of parents being so enthusiastic as PVs that the teacher has to give way to parents? 

It was my first time going to school with Baby as a PV so it was quite exciting for me! But due to my old age, I actually felt tired after that. So where energy is concerned, it's better to have babies when you are younger.

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