KAA and Learnings @ Aarohi

KAA at Aarohi have different forms every year at Aarohi. KAA trips are oustation trips with children. Each trip is about 3-4 days – all trips are weaved into an overall TRIP THEME. We learn History, Geography, culture, nature, etc by visiting the places. The idea is to stimulate the curiosity by being in the place and then take it forward inside the class.

For the first year when we introdued – K meant “Kaigal and Aarohi”, just an outstation trip to explore learning outside.

Next year it became “Kaveri and Aarohi” – We studied river Cauvery from head to toe (source to end) and with it study the varying geogrpahy, nature, culture, economy, social life, history, science, along its route. We visited river at different places – we began with its udgam at Talakaveri, Karnataka and ended up with its delta at Poompuhar in Tamilnadu.

In five trips we explored river and life around river in different forms – near Talakaveri it was religious while near Poompuhar the exisitence of river was alomost negligible. We met river cavery at waterfalls, in dam, in farms, in bird sancturyy, in city and in villages. We not only understood about the river and geography but also different land forms, but also life around water, farming, tourism, wildlife and many more other learning experiences.

After that it became “Kampus and Aarohi” – We explored making of new campus of Aarohi at Kelmangalam near Hosur. We visited the places which gave us opportunity to explore alternative methods of buildings, life style, sustainable living, community living. We also did a dedicated community kitchen trip to explore cooking in rural environment.

After that it became “Kudrat and Aarohi” – The idea was to “expereince various forms of forests“. The trips were not visit to resorts or any tourism, but experience by being inside various kinds of forests. Experience the forest in its purest form by being in the forest. Experience the forest in the morning, in the noon, in the night with ALL the senses – feel it, smell it, listen to it, taste it and just BE WITH IT. Soak in the forest, No showing, no teaching, no tourism. Yes! this was Kudrat and Aarohi.

After that it became “Kings and Aarohi” -We live in the lands of Kings and Queens. They lived in the land of Architecture, culture, art, music, food, costumes, governance, people and theirstories. This year on KAA, we are exploring their lands seeing, touching and talking about Kings and Queens. We began our journey to explore history by vsiting fort of Chikmaglur, temples of Belur and Halebidu and some more places to go this year.

Like any other learning opportunity at Aarohi, KAA trips are not limited to its contents – the overall travel and being in the palce brings a lot of different kinds of learning opportunities and every child grasp the opportunity in different forms.

The learning begins with the the place we are visiting- where are we going, why are we going, what we will, why will do, how we will do, what else, what more………….the stimulation about the place brings a lot of different perspective about the learning – some imagine, some read, some talk, some find more, some share, and some just be like that. Different children set different goals ranging from knowing more about to just visiting the place and being in the place to enjoy the trip with friends.

The packing list brings a lot of thinking and planning – the list comes with a constraints and a note for parent “allow child to pack by self” – this leading to a lot of thinking and discussion at different levels – which clothes, why this and why that not, which cream suits me and which footwear are appropriate. The glimpses of such discussions at home at different levels comes back to the trip with kids sharing their experience of packing. And also sharing how they were not allowed to pack, somewhat pack, pack all my self and so on.

The second destination of learning begans with kids taking different responsibility of the trip. Three groups work on – scheduling, resources and boarding/lodging. This brings resposnibilty to plan what to carry for the trip – what all stationery we need, what first aid we need, how much water we need, do we need extra bedding, do we need extra food, what will be the weather, what kind of place to stay, what to do when miss parents, what is the distance we are travelling, what route we take, what is bus driver number, who will ensure safety, what will be meal timings and the list is long.

All mistakes are learning opportunities – We plan 45 minutes for breakfast and we end up spending 2 hrs, we paln to visit 3 places and we get extra time for two more places, we calculate 150 kms will be covered in 4 hours and we end up reaching in 6 hrs (oops! Forgot to plan for those su su breaks).

The journey of freedom with responsibilty starts at the restaurants for the first breakfast of the trip on route – what to order for my needs, I can order my self and I am also responsible for the left over or over eating. Every meal brings a different challnges – accounting, planning, manging all needs, listening, interacting with strangers and many more things – all done by kids. Every child carry a different learning experience.

Journey by bus/ train/ taxi/ local bus/ jeep/ bullock cart/ are all experienced in real with heat, cold, rain, dust with excitement, boredom, happiness, disappointement and hope to reach and rest or see the places.

Evening and nights are super social time – we can talk and share information on any topic from the brand of underwear to shapmpoo details are discussed in detail. Some prefer to open the whole bag and take out everything every single time, while some access it as per the needs. The implications of planning at home start reflecting when we start using our clothes and accessories. We do not mind making boys and girls gangs or small and big groups. Each child finds it own space – alone or in group. NIghts are the time to share emotions – some miss and cry, while some share how they are managing, some make it a goal to learn to live without parents, while some wait for the next day to reach home. This is time we also connect with our medical needs – check all the trophies we bring back – scratches, hurt, bites or simply put unlimited band aids. We also take time before we pop up any medicine – stomach pain is because we did not go to potty or body needs water or it is triggering from emotions or separation anxiety or food or something else. Fever and other disease – all are welcome on our way, we learn to live with them in the middle of the jungle or in the journey. Loose motions are fine with the change of food or freedom of food. We embrace all leanindg and undseardting.

You must be wondering the trips are to learn about a content as per the theme like river, or history, but I have not talked about them till now. Yes, the learning journey begins much before we reach our contents and continue even after we leave the places.

We work on geography, different landforms, formation of river, water and life in it, science of water and its various forms. We work on different aspect of building, architecture, spaces, food and many other aspect of understanding the society around us to make a community. We work on various forms of forest, wildlife and life cycles, how are humans connected to forest, what is life of tribals, how forest is our part of our system, who lives where, what is the role of forest guards and how the list is long. We also work on history – who is enemy? and how kingdoms were formed or destroyed, how cities were formed, what was king’s role, how the life was and many other aspect of our ancient world…..Some may work on accounting and understand real life applications os addition in real life, while some work on beliefs, some work on body intelligence and check their stamina, while some understand the culture of various place, some face the fear of unknown while some experience a leap by stepping out of comfort zone – be it trekking or removing frog from the toilet. Some observe how a sculpture work, while some want to work on wood carving. Some learn weaving from the Tribals while some observe a machine at work, some swim across the water, while some take a boat to cross, some scream with every ant bite while some understand about leeches. Some will talk about the water temperature, while; some talk about the craving on the fort walls, while some are excited with the monkey man climbing rocks, some are busy asking and gathering info, while some are lost in temple architecture, some observe every single leaf while some image a tiger passing by, some interact with the tribals, while some observe the lifestyle, some finds peace in being quiet, while some share every single observation.

Learning does not stop with the trip – we bring the reference of the trips. For example when we make boats in our session to ensure it is able to take those current we had experienced on the trip or when we read about jungle fire, we bring the memories of all those little creature we saw on our way to forest. We continue with our learning journey and every trip adds up to our intangible learning.