Chhavi Khandelwal, Co-founder, Saturday Art Class
Saturday Art Class
Creatively empowering children through social emotional learning and art.
Creatively empower children within and in the world around them.
We inculcate social-emotional learning into schools and organisations that serve children from low-income backgrounds and create safe spaces for expression by engaging children in a process of creative exploration through Art.
The problem Saturday Art Class is trying to solve
115 million of 380 million children around the world live in extreme poverty, 30% of them live in India. These children are 'at risk' due to the intersectional effects of poverty that act as a deterrent in the child’s ability to thrive.
Schools that cater to these communities teach basic academic knowledge, but do not address their creative, social and emotional learning needs. These children struggle for access to basic necessities including an education that prepares them for a life beyond basic survival. There exists a lack of emphasis on building critical, Social Emotional skills in the formative years of schooling.
This is where Saturday Art Class steps in, fostering a growth mindset and related skills that can equip children to help lift their families and communities out of this vicious cycle and contribute towards the progress of the nation.
We provide spaces to these children to nurture their childhood, their dreams, their expressions and build critical life long skills.
- We provide vulnerable children with Social Emotional skills that can help them understand and manage their emotions and stressors.
- We create safe spaces for creative exploration and expression through the medium of art.
- We embed Social Emotional Learning within the school system.
Impact we helped create from 2017-2021
- 5,500+ Students have been impacted through our school interventions on ground.
- 46 Partnerships initiated that implement our programs.
- 1,300+ Volunteers sensitized and trained in alignment with the Social Emotional Learning and Art.
- 80,100 Children across India have accessed our digital open resources that we developed during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
How does Social Emotional Learning cater to Holistic Education?
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) underscores the importance of SEL to ensure holistic development of children and states that the education system must aim to “develop good human beings capable of rational thought and action, possessing compassion and empathy”.
However, SEL has remained largely un-recognized in the Indian education ecosystem.; its correlation with systematic influences on short- and long-term student outcomes including reduced emotional distress, increased academic performance, increased rates of high school completion, improved mental health, and more engaged citizenship catering to holistic development of the child.
How do we ensure Saturday Art Class students receive holistic education?
Saturday Art Class aims to fill this void by providing safe-spaces to children to nurture their childhood, their dreams, their expressions and build critical lifelong skills while they learn about global artists and art forms. This can help them understand and manage their emotions and stressors. We embed Social Emotional learning within the low-income school systems in India with help of arts integration.
Our response to the global COVID-19 Pandemic
Relief and Recovery during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Saturday Art Class launched the Covid-19 Relief and Recovery Program in March 2020, which was essentially launched as a way to combat the challenges our communities were facing due to the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
- Our Champions Project & COVID-19 Relief Fundraiser Campaign (April 2020- September 2020) : The financial ramifications of the lockdown left our students and their families without basic food supplies. Our focus was to take on Relief, by ensuring the supply of daily food essentials to families in need. We raised funds through a volunteer driven fundraising programme, called the Saturday Art Class Champions Project. The idea behind the project was to leverage community participation and teamwork to effectively work towards a solution for a larger problem. It enabled young leaders from diverse backgrounds to support Saturday Art Class’ Relief and Recovery efforts by raising funds through hosting individual crowdfunding platforms.
Here are some of the impact numbers that we documented through this programme :
- INR 42 Lakhs Raised
- 36 Champions Activated
- Our COVID-19 Recovery Program (June 2020 - January 2021) : Understanding how children were still in need of safe spaces to express themselves, we wanted our impact to go beyond Relief. We wanted to work on Recovery through designing, developing and conducting a well being based Recovery Curriculum to help communities that were facing hardships caused by the constant negativity and loss of jobs, lack of income, domestic abuse and violence, lack of daily essentials such as food etc caused during the pandemic. Therefore, we introduced Virtual Classrooms to implement the Social Emotional Learning and Art integrated Recovery Curriculum to address these needs.
Here are some of the impact numbers that we documented through this programme :
- 60 Facilitators
- 250 Children
- 85% Student Attendance
- 15 Partner Organizations
- Our COVID-19 Recovery Program (June 2021) :
Expanding Our Reach (August 2020-June 2021)
The Virtual Classrooms Program helped us realize that the communities we worked with do not have access to technology compatible with digital learning, nor do they have the resources to invest in a relatively expensive device. Through Virtual Classrooms, we opened our doors to schools outside of Mumbai and welcomed organizations to become part of the Saturday Art Class Family from Pune City and Ahmedabad.
Saturday Art Class partners with Teach For India (May 2021)
Teach for India is a non-profit as a part of the Teach For All network. To build a growing movement of leaders, it runs a two year teaching fellowship. In a decade, it has seen more than 120,000 young fellows. Currently, there 900+ Fellows impacting over 32,000 students in 260 under-resourced schools in India.
Saturday Art Class x Teach for India Partnership (Mumbai)
Saturday Art Class in partnership with Teach for India (Mumbai) is intervening with Grade 3 and Grade 3-5-6 classrooms for the academic year 2021-2022. The art curriculum delivered through this will impact 2000 children. 50 TFI fellows to deliver this program after receiving training from Saturday Art Class on Social-Emotional Learning based art curriculums and facilitation.
The curriculum spans across 3 goals- All children are empowered with:
- The knowledge and skills of self-awareness, self-compassion and creative intelligence to bring about a positive change in their personal development.
- Awareness, compassion and creative intelligence to bring about a positive change in their interpersonal development.
- Awareness, compassion and creative intelligence to bring about a positive change in their community and society at large.
Among the many artists we expose our children to are SH Raza, Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, Rene Magritte, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.
Safe Sharing Spaces (May 2021-June 2021)
The pandemic and the resulting lockdown, the constant media focus on the number of fatalities in the country and the world as well as the stress of ensuring safety, health and wellbeing of self and family have left children mentally and emotionally drained out. Children have been confined to indoor spaces without having an outlet or channel to express their feelings and emotions.
How will children benefit from 'Safe Sharing Spaces'?
An integration of Social Emotional Learning and Art sessions will be conducted to help children :
- Become more aware of how they feel about the current situation
- Have a safe space to express
- Have time in the week dedicated to their well-being
- Develop a creative and artistic way of expression
Saturday Art Class Training at Teach For India Institute (July 2021)
The TFI institute is a 6 week long training all 1st year intervention fellows undergo. Saturday Art Class is set to train 600 Grade 3 fellows across India. Each fellow leads a classroom of 40 or above children and will be trained by industry experts to implement our 'In My Mind' curriculum set to impact 30,000 Teach For India children solely via Institute training.
SArC Trainings for Teach For India Fellows
As part of our Train-the-Trainer model that focuses on sensitizing educators in the space of Social-Emotional Learning and art, we host monthly trainings for educators focusing on various topics and themes in the realm of SEL and well-being.
In November 2021, we conducted a training session for our Teach For India educators based on the theme of Emotional Awareness.
The training was beautifully and interactively led by Anokhi Parikh (Co-founder of The SEL Lab) and Anum Mulla (A Writer, Editor, and Empathy and Compassion Skill Cultivation Facilitator) wherein our fellows learned about the principles of Mental States and Emotions further equipping themselves on how they can take back the theme within the classroom to cater to students emotions on a daily basis!
- Everyone’s An Artist: Our Digital Curriculum (January 2021)
We launched our first-ever digitized curriculum called Everyone’s An Artist in partnership with Learning Delight. This open resource is a step in making Social-Emotional Learning integrated with Art through 12 interactive session videos narrated by co-founder Manasi Mehan, accessible to over 50,000 children across the country!
Our Social and Emotional Learning-based curriculum has been mindfully crafted and overlooked by well-renowned educators considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students across the country; with the lack of physical schooling and technological setbacks faced by them in terms of virtual learning, they have been deprived of safe spaces for expression.
- In My Mind : A workbook for children (September, 2020)
Back in October 2020, we piloted our curriculum with a focus group of 220 students as part of our COVID-19 Recovery Virtual Classrooms program. Student growth was assessed and analysed throughout the entire term of implementation. The positive results we received only further confirmed the fact that this curriculum had to be made accessible to every parent, teacher, and child globally to help them socially and emotionally during these trying times.
Here are some of the impact numbers that we documented through this programme :
- Since it has been released as a digital resource on our website www.saturdayartclass.com from 24th April 2021, we have impacted 35,791 students across-
- 6 Countries
- 20 Cities
What is In My Mind?
In My Mind is a digital book based on Social-Emotional Learning, Art, and creatively stimulating exercises to help provide SEL-based resources for students to educators, teachers, and parents across the globe as an open-source.
This book reflects a culmination of the efforts, learnings, and feedback we were able to derive from our students and stakeholders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to us curating this book that is based on our SEL and Art curriculum.
The curriculum has been fine tuned over months by leading experts, and it has been reviewed by an SEL consultant from UNESCO along with educators whose expertise lie in curriculum development; with additional reviews provided by Saturday Art Class teachers and students.
The digital book acts as a safe space for children in order to help them creatively express their emotions, thoughts, and feelings through art.
Each graphic illustration that you will see in the In My Mind workbook has been personalized and designed first-hand by our Graphic Design team.
What does In My Mind comprise of?
If you are an educator / organization / school / parent open to collaborate over our digital curriculum and workbook- kindly email- email@example.com
Since our inception in 2017, Saturday Art Class has :
- Created a developmentally appropriate curriculum that builds measurable SEL outcomes at each grade level in these areas: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management, Decision Making and Problem Solving.
- Established implementation partnerships with government and low-income private schools in Mumbai.
- Given students hands-on experience with a range of well-known artististic styles and practices from around the world.
- Built a dedicated network of facilitators & volunteers serving as Coaches and Mentors :
- Our trained Coaches commit to a full year to facilitate the curriculum in the classrooms.
- Our Mentors volunteer part-time to help the Coaches in the classrooms.
Our future plans
- School and NGO outreach to secure partnerships. Taking support within the education ecosystem- to train their teachers and team to implement our program.
- Designing & developing social emotional learning content for grades 3 - 6
- Through the partnerships, Saturday Art Class will train the teachers/ staff members/ Fellows of the organizations to deliver the Saturday Art Class curriculum in their respective classrooms
- Saturday Art Class will assist the teachers/ staff members/ Fellows in conducting a baseline and end-line assessment of the participating students
- Saturday Art Class program is conducted by the trained teachers/ staff members and Fellows of the organization with the Saturday Art Class team providing support through classroom observations and feedback
- Continued program development
Digital interventions to enhance program delivery and scale impact
Achieved SEL outcomes
- Academic year 2019-2020 : Our assessments measured each child on the basis of Self Awareness, Self Management, and Social Awareness as our lesson plans were structured around those 3 parameters of Social Emotional Learning.
- Social-Awareness: 21% growth
- Self-Management: 23.% growth
- Self-Awareness: 22% growth
Here are some of our student testimonials
“I like Saturday Art Class because I’ve learnt how to be patient with teachers and friends. I like when Didi teaches us. They also help me understand patience, discipline, sharing, kindness and good behavior."
- Himanshu Yadav, 8 years old
“I like Saturday Art Class because we learn new things, about which we hadn’t ever heard of or learnt. My favorite moment in class was when Didi taught us about Arunima Sinha. Kalpana Chawla and Malala on TV. We also learnt about ‘sharing is caring’ and helping each other. Didi also taught us that we shouldn’t fight with anybody or hurt them.”
- Tamanna Chauhan, 9 years old
The Virtual Classrooms Recovery Program : Our assessments measured each child on the basis of Self Awareness and Self Management. The values below represent the average % attainment against SEL parameters. It is derived from the self-reported responses to various questions in our baseline and end-line forms which co-relate with the relevant SEL parameter.
- Self- Awareness: 10% growth
- Self-Management: 14% growth
Here are some of our Student Testimonials
"I feel happy to attend Saturday Art Class. I feel like I get a chance to participate during class. Didi and Bhaiya teach very well and organize fun activities. Because of Saturday Art Class, I understood my feelings and emotions and I was able to write a poem!"
- Yasmin Pathan , 19 years old
"During Saturday Art Class sessions I learnt about thoughts, feelings, what the voice inside our head is and many activities. I learnt about two words that I always keep in mind, they are Curious and Compassionate."
- Fehmina Ahmed Shah, 13 years old
“I joined with the idea that someone needs to be helped. And I cannot imagine what a mutual learning experience it turned into. I learnt that it's not the ‘one size fits all’ approach that'll help. Acknowledging the experiences and joy each student had to offer to the group, and the entire being of my fellow facilitators has brought us all a long long way.”
- Jill Mota, Facilitator
“Always wanted to do something with Saturday Art Class, but work and studies took the front seat. Now I know what I missed. This was the missing piece. When I talk about my kids , yes my kids , I can proudly say that , I tell people there is so much to learn from these little ones. They're so mature in their own ways and that's beautiful. The joy I felt after having an amazing session with them cannot be worded.”
- Devanshi Mehra, Facilitator
Bringing Galleries and Museums into Classroom
At Saturday Art Class, we believe art is universal, hence accessibility to art should be for all and not just for a few.
Over the past few years we have worked with galleries & museums to make art displayed by them accessible to our students. We take inspiration from various artists and partner with galleries that showcase their work
Our high-potential volunteers are trained first-hand by art galleries & museums where they build an understanding of the artist in focus' work. Mentors are trained to view the art of modern artists from around India and how to teach their work through our Saturday Art Class lesson plans. Ensuring that each artist and their work is relatable to the children, in a way for the children to then discover the connection between them and the artist’s work.
Saturday Art Class in collaboration with Delhi Art Gallery (DAG) organized training sessions for our mentors where they were exposed to 2 renowned Indian artists
The mentors were introduced to Madhvi Parekh’s work and how the way she painted was an observation and expression of the people in her village. Art as medium of self-expression.
It so happened that Natvar Bhaskar- one of India’s most important contemporary artists- saw his artwork being taught to our students via social media and invited our co-founders for dinner in his home in New York.
We believe that art builds connection
Through artist collaborations we have been able to not only make art accessible but been able to build connections with artists itself.
Saturday Art Class has designed lesson plans so as to bring international art & artists into classrooms.
For example one of the leading contemporary artists of our time, is a British artist called Damien Hirst, whose work our co-founders saw, displayed in a gallery in New York. We conducted a Damien Hirst inspired lesson plan back in Mumbai with our students in which taught children the importance of being unique (like each dot in the painting is of a different contrasting color) but also of importance of teamwork (however when the colors come together, it makes for a beautiful painting).
We put these pictures up on our Instagram account and tagged Damien Hirst. When he saw pictures of our Big Little Artists using his work as inspiration and the joy it brought them, he sent Saturday Art Class a painting as a gift all the way from UK
Saturday Art Class Features
- India Today - How Saturday Art Class helped students embrace their inner artists amid Covid-19 lockdown
- ELLE India - Saturday Art Class Teaches Kids Social-Emotional Learning Through Art
- TedxISME - Cultivating Minds Through Art
- TedXYouth @NMS - Relief and Recovery during COVID-19
- Forbes - Gratitude Network Announces 30 Fellows For 2020 Cohort Of Changemakers For Children
- FirstPost - Watch: The Saturday art class that's drawing kids to school
- Queens Commonwealth Trust - Saturday Art Class: Social emotional learning through art
- The Hindu - Art for Learning and Healing
- The Logical Indian - Children From Low-Income Families Are Learning About Life Values Through Art, Thanks To Saturday Art Class|
Saturday Art Class Publications
- UNESCO MGIEP: Every child is a creative genius if we let them be one.
Authored by Dipti Balwani (Program Lead, Saturday Art Class)
- UNESCO MGIEP: Teaching children to express, not repress in midst of a global pandemic.
Authored by Anaggha Nethra (Program Associate, Saturday Art Class)
- Pratham Education Foundation: Creating spaces of self-expression through Social-Emotional Learning.
Co-authored by Anthea Lobo (Program Associate, Saturday Art Class)
Get a glimpse of what Saturdays look like at Saturday Art Class
Watch HERE Ranjeet, a Grade 6 Saturday Art Class student facilitates a workshop to adults at Soho House, Mumbai based on Self Awareness and Self Management through the work of Japanese Artist, Yayoi Kusama
Saturday Art Class Exhibition
The Saturday Art Class Exhibition is an End of Year Annual Event that showcases the artwork made by students throughout the year.
The platform provided engages children, parents, teachers, mentors, coaches and supporters, allowing children to not only showcase their creativity but gain a sense of achievement for the work done through the year.
Through this end of year showcase we hope to not only motivate our children but also give a glimpse of our work to the attendees as a way to advocate the need to work towards our cause.
Here is how it went:
*Exhibition 4.0 could not be executed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The/Nudge Incubator by The Nudge Foundation - Centre for Social Innovation
Selected from among 580+ applications, Saturday Art Class is a part of the 8th Cohort of The/Nudge Incubator Program. This opportunity will help our organization pave the way to scaling and reach out to many more children across India. It will help us to leverage the existing ecosystem & implement solutions to creatively empower students from low-income communities across India.
The Force For Good Program by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Saturday Art Class is also part of the J.P. Morgan Chase & Co Force For Good Program. This will help us to design and build sustainable tech solutions for the implementation of our core programs to further advance our mission.
Saturday Art Class x Pratham Education Foundation
In partnership with Pratham Digital, Saturday Art Class conducted 16+ workshops from 24th October 2021- 2nd November 2021, PAN India (across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Orissa), focusing on the theme of celebrating Diwali in a happy, safe, and eco-friendly manner using the medium of art.
These workshops were implemented among youth coaches (aged 15-20) and children (aged 8-14) to advocate the negative consequences of celebrating Diwali using firecrackers and instead adopting safe alternatives to celebrate Diwali using art to create colorful paper lanterns and greeting cards within their communities.
These workshops were also implemented in 5 languages- English, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, and Odia languages among community youth coaches and children.
Saturday Art Class x Forbes Marshall CSR Initiatives
In partnership with Forbes Marshall CSR Initiatives, Team Saturday Art Class visited the Savardari and Wasuli villages in Chakan district, Pune in the last week of October to conduct fun-filled, colorful, and eco-friendly Diwali workshops with students belonging to the villages.
On DAY 1, we engaged students in meaningful discussions about the harmful effects of celebrating Diwali using firecrackers. Together, we brainstormed on steps to celebrate the festival in an eco-friendly manner leading each student to paint diyas in which they sowed seeds, labeled their diyas with their names, and made a promise to take care of their seeded diyas that would soon grow into healthy, green plants.
On DAY 2, we conducted two sessions exposing students to the art of lantern-making with a lot of inspiration gathered from famous modern artists like Akbar Padamsee and Yayoi Kusama. With the goal of giving back to nature this Diwali, students appreciated things they found beautiful in their village surroundings and incorporated them into the lanterns they created.
On DAY 3, we conducted Teacher Trainings for paraeducators who work and support the children in the Savardari and Wasuli villages through non-profit organizations- Urmee and Yojak (also supported by Forbes Marshall CSR Initiatives). We kickstarted the training with a quick art activity, where teachers painted portraits of themselves inspired by modern artist Coco Davez followed by shedding light on the importance of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and art; further encouraging teachers to create and implement their own modules based on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) within their own classrooms.
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