Taleigao MOP. Friday evening. Its a dull grey, overcast evening.
Getting to the depths of Santissmo Vaddo is literally a roller coaster ride; what with no road and a narrow path with a drop on one side where the wheels skid on the stones.
This is how we get to the site. The kids, they come running from different corners down the little slope to the balcony that a thoughtful parent allowed us to use when the monsoon started.
One of our pilot sites when the program started; it has a history of its own with moving the location 4 times, kids changing, and us wondering how to facilitate its survival.
It has survived. And over the years, a cohort group has evolved. These are the kids who we used to see in the GPS classroom, and then for MOP.
I learned this Friday that there are also kids who were part of our pilot group of kids, 3 years ago. We were in the midst of a particularly animated reading of The Rooster and the Sun; and before we turned the page, we all stopped to imagine what would happen next. At this point, Ankur interrupted mid-sentence and proclaimed proudly that he knew that the sun would not yet come back.
It intrigued me enough to ask how he knew that. He replied saying ‘waha park mein pada tha’. My memory wad making a mad dash to focus on what he was referring to, and even more, who (other than Bookworm) was reading in the park. I asked again, ‘kaha aur kaun beta?’ And he told me with a grin, ‘waha Teacher, Ideal school ke paas, aur aap hi pada tha hamare saath!’.
I was struck by this! My own memory did not place the book that had been read, or the fact that he had been there. It became clearer to me the impact that these stories we read have on the minds of the kids. The detail with which they recount, the fact that they can tell us what we did during that session.
We progressed with our story reading, and at the end, we took to discussing what had happened in the book. The kids had strong opinions about the plot and the characters in the book. They got the subtext and had made sense of the implicit themselves. And all of this, is remarkable.
Within this little group, we have readers who have progressed and are moving forward, we have readers who are struggling with bigger words, we have readers who are reading but struggle with meaning making, we have readers who just take in the illustrations in the book.
We have a long way to go. For now, we’re taking baby steps; as are the kids. Together, we’re reading and growing, laughing and learning.
The journey goes on.