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Slam Out Loud: Art that Teaches Children the Meaning of Life

Slam Out Loud is an organisation which believes in art education. This organisation uses art forms to help children understand themselves and the world around them from their point of view. Art based education is a significant part for those students who can't express themselves through academic learning. Naman Bhaiya, Program Manager at Slam Out Loud shared, "I have used storytelling as an art form in my class. Most of the children who never listened to anyone started listening to each other and respecting others voices".

It always becomes a piece of cake if children want to do something they want, like if they want to express themselves by writing stories, poems or drawing.

Sometimes we don't have any words to express our feelings but we have a creative side like making drawings through which other people can know about our feelings.

As Mridula, Program Lead, shares, "If I tell a child to write something, what happens in your home last day? Maybe he can't write it but if I say, draw a picture of the activities which took place at your home last week? Then he/she might draw anything through which we can understand something".

Slam Out Loud uses art forms for building up social emotional learning in a child. The fellows always observe the child's growth in a classroom and in society. They believe in four parameters which are curiosity, critical thinking, imagination and communication.

They do many activities to develop curiosity in children, like giving a blank circle to every child and giving them time to make anything they know from that circle. It is not compulsory to be all-rounders in every space of life. Some students are extremely creative and imaginative but they can't read or write and SOL is doing such work where they recognise these students. They not only mobilize students to feel free at the space but also they mobilize teachers to be more supportive. They always motivate their colleagues for house visits in the community from where children belong through which they can understand the problems which are facing by children.

To start, Slam Out Loud is a large company, but what if a person wants to start something like SOL? Well, people from SOL stated a few ways to do exactly that!

One thing you can do is, join them! Joining them would help you in many ways and also just being a part of them, they look for motivated and driven individuals who understand the transformative power of arts or have experienced it themselves. Or, if a teacher wants to let their students explore through socio-emotion learning and arts, and wants to introduce them to these, SOL has a ton of freely available resources like lesson plans, scripts, PPTs, videos, etc. not only on their website but also on their YouTube channel!

While you take part in all of this, you learn one side of it, what about the one where there are a few hurdles and speedbumps in your way? What if a stakeholder doesn’t agree with you or isn’t with you? The 3 main external stakeholders are parents, school teachers/leaders and the community. For parents, the first step can be enhancing and growing their relationship with their children by providing them with resources and tools for Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). By taking notes from these activities with teachers we will be able to implement these workshops in more places and collaborate with school teachers and leaders to organize well-being circles and best practice sharing circles to foster a conducive learning environment for all students. And, once you make these art projects, you must showcase the art projects at the school level to involve teachers and leaders in celebrating the achievements of the students and community, where teachers and communities can both see the improvement and skills themselves.

With something as big as SOL, some hardships you come across, like collaborating and functioning with the stakeholders. Now, for that, SOL conducts meetings and feedback sessions with parents, teachers and students to understand the needs and expectations from their perspective and to get their reviews. They also make the parents experience the things their child is, by curation and facilitating activities for parents and teachers. While all of this is there, during events, where many stakeholders are present, they have open mics and showcases from the stakeholder’s perspectives. They aim for stakeholders to acknowledge their commitment to empowering children and creating platforms where their voices are heard and valued. For that, they design their events that create a space for stakeholders as well to express and feel valued so that the stakeholders have the same inclusion their students/children do.

This constructive story has been written by student journalists of the Re-Imagining Media Program. We are thankful to Ms. Mridula Reddy, Mr. Naman Goel and Ms. Maria K. for their time and for answering all our questions patiently.

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