It is not stated without a reason: True happiness is sought in simple joys of life that often go unnoticed in the daily rigmarole. Ever since I became a teacher, I have experienced the said statement. And today happens to be one wherein, it was not only my children’s day out but mine too. Of course, it was picnic time for us. Considering that a picnic out of the town was not feasible for preschoolers as they are quite small yet, we decided on covering two local places within 4 hours in my small hometown. One was the Swami Narayan temple on NH8 (a startling architectural beauty that attracts tourists and the locals in droves) and the other was a visit to the Amul milk factory on the old NH8.
Swami Narayan Temple on NH 8 was our first stop. Most of the children were familiar with the temple and, squealed with joy, the moment the lush green lawns with a host of sparrows pecking at the grass caught their eye. The temple is splendid not only in terms of architecture, but is an epitome of tranquility – a perfect place for children where they feel closer to Mother Nature. The temple authorities were delighted to see our children (from Playgroup to Senior KG) and happily accommodated our monkeys who were in their best behavior as instructed by us. We started the day with a prayer to the Almighty. After which, we conducted a small exercise routine for them. Later, a devotee came and explained the importance of respecting parents and saying prayers in the morning, before food and before going to bed. Our children drank in every word that was being said. This was the perfect beginning for the children as Prayers are the bulwark of character building. After all, these tots are tomorrow’s future. After the prayers, our children were treated with chocolates by the temple authorities. Post which, we conducted a lot of games for them, with – Fire on the mountain, Run Run Run! being their favourite! After a good mental and physical workout, our children cried out in unison – “Ma’am, we are hungry!” So, after freshening up and, followed by a group hand wash (which we always emphasize in particular), our children were treated with crispy masala dosas after a short prayer. Now, that all of us had refueled their systems, we were ready for the next stop. Not to mention, we all thanked the temple authorities. It was sheer delight to hear our toddlers voicing a hearty THANK YOU with almost no prompting!
The next stop was the milk factory of Amul (known popularly as Duddhara). The children gaped in awe as they saw huge machines, pipes and metal containers. This was far from the fictional Mickey mouses, Donald ducks and the other toon characters! Surprisingly, they were all ears when one of the employees explained to them in simple words on how the crates holding the milk packets were washed in steam and cold water, how the milk gets into the packet when a button in the machine is pressed, how there is a machine that churns the milk cream (malai) and how, the yumilicious white butter is heaped in a tray. The children had awestruck faces as their innocent eyes rolled over from side to side, trying to capture the giant machinery in their memory. Once we were out of the factory, the Amul authorities treated all of us with saffron pistachio flavored cold milk (something that is not available in the market).Truth to be told, that was the most delicious drink I have had until now considering my own love for milk. Needless to say, children enjoyed it to the hilt. While we returned, our children were treated with freshly baked cream rolls. Some mentioned that they are going to share it with their siblings at home. So, after a four hour joy trip, we returned to school as children ran into the arms of their parents with wonderful memories that would stay with them for long.
Now, here is to why picnics and excursions for preschoolers should necessarily have an educative element.
- Preschoolers are way faster in grasping facts. Remember I mentioned earlier – Their minds are sponges that are hungry for knowledge. Also, they are inquisitive and have a lot of questions. And a toddler that questions, is an intelligent mind in making.
- Their mannerisms are tested out and that, primarily motivates us teachers to strive harder towards their character building. For instance, we beamed and soaked in pride when our children said thank-you and please with little or no prompting.
- Thirdly, children undergo a self-learning process that involves fostering friendships, taking a fall and getting up and importantly, understanding a world beyond school and home in a way they want to.
There is one more thing I learned as a human today. A town or a city hardly matters when it comes to learning. Of course, a city offers better learning prospects and yet there, I have seen children being pulled more towards malls and the joy rides. And even though, I am currently a preschool teacher in a small town, I know of preschool children that ask me profound questions that I have never heard from the big city kiddos. And, I know why. Humility is a fundamental element in carving an brilliant mind. And, small towns have lots of it. That said, I am signing off for the day.
Happy reading 🙂
P.S: Before we were given permission into the Amul Factory, we were asked to relax a bit in their spacious lawns till the formalities were completed. And, this is what our monkeys can do! Stand up somersaulting! Mind well, these kids are less than 5. India does have a massive potential for gymnastics! What say?
P.S.S: There were 70 of them and I could not capture all of them as children, never pose by compulsion but by choice. 😀