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G.A.I.T : Grooming Artistic Innovation and Talent
Enabling children to express themselves creatively through movement
Preeti Sunderajan, CEO, G.A.I.T
GAIT aims to foster creative thinking using the body as a medium of expression. Using dance and theatre techniques, children learn to express an idea, image or situation through enhanced body gestures, facial expressions and role playing. This physical movement encourages them to communicate their thoughts and emotions in innovative ways, enhances their learning abilities and builds self-confidence and self esteem.
What we do.
GAIT conducts a Creative Movement curriculum for children, in over 35 schools in 12 cities across India. Our classes stimulate imagination in children and encourage them to observe, understand and express their experiences in a positive and non-judgmental learning environment. Children from 3 to 11 years of age are taught to identify and relate to things in their environment - from simple shapes, sizes and colours to more abstract concepts such as feelings, relationships and interactions with their peers. This methodolgy has now been proven to show a significant increase in the child's Self Esteem and Creative Thinking
Why we do it.
A child's earliest reaction to environmental stimuli is physical. Even as verbal abilities develop, sensory expression continues to form an intrinsic part of the child's growth, in the form of movement, dance and role play.
When we encourage children to express themselves freely and creatively, especially in their formative years, they develop a strong sense of confidence and collaboration. Using their bodies as a medium of expression develops their spatial and kinaesthetic abilities, and helps them become more self-aware and expressive. It also helps channelise their tremendous physical energy in a positive and constructive manner, since movement stimulates the same part of the brain that enhances learning skills.
Further, with a population of more than a billion, the Indian education system caters to the largest base of school-going children in the world. Equipping them merely with the three Rs (Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmetic) neglects a wholistic approach to education that is vital to their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
How We Do It.
GAIT seeks to fill this gap through its well-structured, age-appropriate curriculum in creative movement, delivered by a trained Creative Movement Specialist deployed full-time at schools. The curriculum is divided into 2 parts, the first for children Nursery to Upper KG and the second for Grades 1 to 5. Our unique assessment format ensures a consistent year-round mapping of each child’s development, with a report made available to parents once a year.
Creative Exploration of Movement
GAIT's programmes are rooted in extensive research. Our Foundation Course focuses on elements of Body, Space, Rhythm and Expression. It helps children understand their body and its movements, develop spatial awareness and respect for personal space, become aware of the innate rhythms of their bodies and recognise their emotions.
The Choreography module helps children take previously explored themes, create a product within a format and present it before their friends. This encourages critical thinking, exchange of ideas and collaboration.
The Physical Theatre segment uses the human body to embody props, characters and settings. The children explore the nuances of narrative and characterisation in role-playing, which helps them understand human motivations and build empathy.
The Child Safety Awareness module delves into deeper territory, guiding children into understanding the importance of physical safety, signs of fear, stress or anxiety when spatial boundaries are crossed, choosing to be a buddy rather than a bully in social interactions, and finally, recognising trustworthy adults in adverse situations.
Easy, replicable format
Fueling creativity within a structured yet flexible format allows GAIT to be replicated and scaled easily across ages and backgrounds, and makes it possible to integrate it into existing classroom-based education. GAIT adopts a child-friendly, informal and communicative approach to delivering its content. Its mascot Frobby instantly serves to put children at ease and connect with the programme content, particularly in children at the preschool level.
Every lesson is divided into a warm-up session to understand the objective of the class (Get Set), explore the theme of class with the Facilitator (Act), express themselves through a creation of their own (Innovate) and then present their work to their groups for feedback (Tie Up).
A milestone study conducted by Christ University, Bengaluru on the creativity and behavioural scores of young students who had undergone the GAIT programme found an increase in the fluency and originality of their ideas, as well as a marked positive impact on their self-worth. Today, GAIT has impacted close to 30,000 students across India, and aims to expand its outreach to 50,000 children by the year 2020.