The Arts Education program was initiated with the purpose of using the arts (theatre and fine arts) to engage with children and work towards learning to live with differences and a harmonious co-existence.
The overall objectives of the program include understanding:
- Identity-what makes me ME.
- Relationships- why we have relationships, why are they important, what affects relationships
- Emotions- what are emotions?
- Differences- importance of differences, why are differences good
- How to live with differences
- Importance of dialogue
- How to deal with the various issues that are a part of our day to day life
The program started in September 2014 in four centres. Two of the centres are a part of the Kolkata police Nabadisha program, and two are government schools.
Each of the centres has Arts education sessions once a week, with three days of theatre and one day of art. The classes are for 90 minutes each. The theatre groups Alternative Living Theatre and Mad About Drama conduct theatre sessions. Mrs Arunima Choudhury and Navendu Sengupta conduct the art sessions. The facilitators have vast experience working with children.
The theatre sessions have involved warm up games, observation based games and basic theatre games like mirror images, image building and rhythm based games.The aim of these games is to improve listening skills and allow the children to become comfortable with the space, using their bodies to express ideas and thoughts and facilitating communication. The children have also been working on building stories and forming images based on these stories. Discussions on issues that affect them, the question of identity and self have been addressed.
The art sessions have involved the children exploring the world of colours and expressing through art what makes them happy. They have also begun making collages and will soon start appliqué work and clay modeling.