Didn’t know we were being written about…Thank You Prashant:)

A creativity module to shape tomorrow’s Razas and Husains

In 2009, Ritu Khoda and her core group formed Art1st to change the very fundamental assumptions of how schoolchildren were taught art. The novel initiative revolves around an extensive curriculum and is now running pilot programs at select schools in Mumbai. This group of art lovers has also created labs at various places across the city. A pilot workshop will be launched in Delhi next year.

Their curriculum is shaped as a high-level cognitive tool that makes use of specially-designed books for different age groups. It takes off with scribbles, moves on to colors, shapes, doodles, paintings etc and within the basics, let children decipher high art (Raza’s Bindu series, for example, is used for them to grasp shapes).

From the  academic year, the curriculum is slated to form part of the formal teaching methodology in these schools. The idea is to change the basics of the learning methods, and not just add to it. In essence, Ritu Khoda sees Art1st as something to transform mainstream art education. She explains that the tools used for the purpose of art appreciation are so designed to make a child creative and shape him or her to be a thinker.

Apart from boosting confidence, they look to build powers of description and vocabulary of children. Ritu Khoda had been quoted as saying in an interview: “Twenty years later, a child is not going to produce out-of-the-box ideas unless he or she is encouraged to think that way early on in life. A holistic art curriculum should give a child the self-confidence of owning an idea and presenting it.”

For this very reason, Khoda and her committed team members are against the concept of ‘coloring books’ that embed a fixed idea into children’s minds and tell this is the (only) way to do it. Constant evaluation is another feature of Art1st creativity module for children. Presently, the participating pilot schools receive a review each month from the team that also reorients teachers to spot out individuality.




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