Building new dreams, one block at a time

Building blocks have always proven to be a great source of learning for children. This simple activity has enormous potential in encouraging teamwork and creative thinking among children. With this in mind, Enabling Leadership piloted its Build Maya program in June this year.

The Build Maya program makes use of Lego games and other building blocks to help children learn essential leadership skills, while being creative and having fun.

The program is being piloted in Dharwad, India, under the leadership of Milind and Savita Kabbur, who have years of experience in using creative methods for teaching mathematics and science and have conducted numerous workshops in the region.

Under the Build Maya program, classes are run twice a week after school. Children are asked to create models on a theme/topic using building blocks, which is followed by a discussion focusing on learnings from the session. “We have discovered that children in the rural areas are very different – they have a lot more interest and enthusiasm compared to city kids. Since village schools lack in extra-curricular activities, children hardly get a chance to engage in non-academic methods of learning. Therefore, their response to this program has been very positive,” says Milind Kabbur.

Learning through building blocks is not just about being creative, it also encourages children to take responsibility and engage in critical thinking. We saw a beautiful example of this learning in a recent class where children were asked to make a model of the local god, Ganpati. The activity encouraged competitive spirit among the children, as each group tried to create the best-looking model. In one of the groups that finished first, one of the girls wanted to improve their model. In her effort to do so, she ended up breaking the model and her group lost.

 

Obviously, the girl’ group members were very upset with her. But during the after-class discussion when the group was encouraged to self-introspect, they themselves came to the conclusion that the girl should not be blamed as she was only trying to do the best for the team.

This beautiful example sheds light on how such activities enable children to own responsibility collectively and embrace both wins and losses positively, while acknowledging the efforts made by their team members.

“The children attending our program have a great hunger to learn. They turn up earlier than they are supposed to and even take the initiative to clean the classroom and keep it ready”, says Kabbur, who is hopeful this program will help increase the confidence levels of children enormously.

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