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Storytelling through Advent Calendar, December 2017: Storytelling was the theme for the month of December. Since time immemorial, stories have been an integral part of our culture. Children find them appealing for a variety of reasons. They arouse their curiosity, entertain them, stimulate their imagination, appeal to their sense of adventure, be in tune with their hopes, desires and fears, help them clarify and deal with their emotions, give recognition to their problems and suggest solutions or help them develop their intellect and self-confidence. In other words, stories enrich children’s life. They transform them into good listeners.

We chose Advent Calendar as a wonderful source of new stories for the whole month as we geared up for Christmas celebrations. The Calendar was in the shape of two large rows containing colourful paper pouches of surprise for each day of December leading up to and including Christmas Eve. Each pouch had a Christmas related object like Christmas tree, bells, baby Jesus, stars, greeting card or Snowman in it. While preparing the calendar, we not only focused on festive objects/terms but also used examples from the nature to introduce children to smells, seasons and winter phenomena. For instance, we included Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anis, Vanilla (for smelling), Yellow leaves (for the Fall colors), Bear (to introduce the term of hibernation) and Wool (for Winter wear).

The children, both play group and activity group, responded to this activity with curiosity and enthusiasm. Every day, they rushed to find out what treasure awaited them behind that little paper pouch. Their eagerness to touch the pouch and unveil the secret is just indescribable. Stories narrated with and without the visual aids boosted their creative thinking and imagination.

Workshop for Teachers on Early Childhood Care and Education, September 2017: As Snehan prepared to start its ‘Weekend Day Care’ facility, Ms. Ranjita Chandra, the Coordinator, organized a two-day workshop for the teachers to acquaint them with the philosophy and teaching approaches of the Centre; and to reinforce the truth that providing care to children is a mammoth task that needs special preparation. She discussed at length the ‘Open Classroom’ approach followed in Snehan and provided short training to the participants enabling them to translate the theoretical knowledge into practical skills.