‘Did Ammu and Kuttan tell you what happened in school today?’
Such a question from the teacher can only elicit a horrified reaction from a paranoid mother like me. Did Kuttan hit anyone? Did Ammu speak something that is not warranted? Is any other parent going to call and complain about the kids? A hundred odd thoughts were running in my head in the five second silence before the teacher could answer. I was almost on the verge of voicing some of my thoughts aloud to the teacher herself.
‘What?’, I whispered almost stuttering and not wanting to hear anything remotely negative.
‘Oh!’, she said. ‘Didn’t Ammu tell you about the story time?’
Then, it struck me. The first thing Kuttan told me on getting out of the bus was this. ‘You know Amma.. Today Ammu and A took care of the story time!’ Okay, I thought. And before I could ask more about it to Ammu, Kuttan started crying for reason unknown to him and us and half our time went in calming him down. And, by the time he calmed down I had completely forgotten about the story.
Until the teacher called me this evening to ask, ‘Did Ammu and Kuttan tell you what happened in school today?’
The school that Kuttan and Ammu go to is not a mainstream school. They follow the Waldorf curriculum where at the end of the day, they have a story told by the teacher. A fairy tale, to be precise.
Today, Ammu and her friend, A, finished their lunch early and prepared the room for story time. Laying the mats and arranging the chairs, the duo sat down in the teacher’s chair. When the teacher came to the class, they refused to move away from the place proclaiming they were the teachers for the day. The teacher decided to humour them further and said, ‘If you are the teachers for today, both of you shall conduct the story time. Both of you are going to tell the story today!’ What the teacher didn’t expect was their immediate positive response. ‘We shall do it!’, they said. And, the teacher thought, why not.
I am glad that Ammu is in such a school where she is allowed to do what she loves most. There are no protocols. No ordering around about who the authority is. I am blessed to have such a teacher who calls me up excitedly to talk about how Ammu just shed her initial inhibitions to weave her own story. ‘In fact’, she said, ‘Ammu’s inspired at least ten other kids who want to take over the story session from me. Now, my next one month is booked!’
Well, my friends.. That’s the story behind how my little story fairy mixed and matched a dozen stories about prince and princesses and witches to weave her own fairy tale and finish the story with the usual ‘happily ever after’.