While many of us hear about the various NGOs working in the field of education, rarely we come across a non-profit organization in India which is working on promoting sports in the public schools. Well, Art of Play is one such organization doing exactly that! Bringing sports in the lives of children studying in nooks and corners of our vast country.
Hemant Kumar, Anish Mukherjee and Kshitij Patil are the dynamic co-founders of this novel non-profit organisation called Art of Play. Stylewhack team had an opportunity to have a candid chat with these gentlemen and what we learnt was eye opening.
Here is a snippet of what we learned about Art of Play –
The Current Education System in India
Since Art of Play works in the education system, we thought of asking them “What according to you is the root cause for the state of education in our country?” They said that education system is in the phase of transformation in India currently with a emphasis on infrastructure and adequate teachers. They further explained –
Why promote Sports and not Education?
When we asked this question to the trio, they smiled. They believe that sports education is as important as any conventional education. Even the National Curriculum Framework 2005 has recommended a minimum of 100-120 hours of physical education for students.
The Art of Play co-founders said, “Sports Education is no different for us as compared to the conventional education in the schools. It is as important as any other stream of education. Playing organized sports helps children develop their Physical, Social and Emotional skills that are essential life skills for the 21st century. It helps the students come of out the classrooms and express themselves on the field”.
Art of Play and the Various Activities they Undertake
Art of Play aims to work on the 21st century learning skills of the students such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and responsible decision making through their various sports programme. They conduct various assessment based sports curriculum programmes with children. They also conduct coach/teacher training programmes to deliver the same curriculum. The assessments are primarily designed to measure the Social, Emotional and Physical skills of the students. That is not all! A baseline assessment at the beginning of the programme and end line assessment towards the end of the programme determine the percentage growth in the respective skills of every student. The organization is currently working majorly with two sports – Football and Ultimate Frisbee.
Here are a few numbers to help you understand the magnitude of their work –
- 13 schools in Varanasi with Deshpande Foundation and SEED CSR, 8 schools/learning centres in Delhi NCR with PVR Nest, Vidya and Child, Jodo Gyaan, Aman Biradari.
- Designing a teacher training programme for close to 1000 schools in Rajasthan with Piramal Foundation for Education Leadership.
The Students Galore
When asked about how the students react to including sports in their daily curriculum, the response from the team is exhilarating. While the students enjoy playing along side the coach without a judge or referee for the games, what has been a breakthrough is the interaction with opposite gender during the game. This is the first time for many public schools that the boys and girls play together.
The team says, “For most of the students this has been the first of its kind experience with sports. The ideas of developing peer leaders and peer coaches from among the students have worked well. Many students share of not having interacted with students of opposite gender before they started playing with us. There has been a marked difference in the way they are dealing with their on field emotions and the discipline and regulations during the sports sessions”.
As The Future Unfolds
With initial challenges and resistance taken care of, Art of Play is planning some big programmes for the future. The team beams up with enthusiasm and says, “We have worked with 21 schools in the last year, next year we are targeting 50 schools and about 6000-7000 students. By introducing the aspects of technology and teacher training we aim to reach out to more than 1000 schools in next 3 years. However, for the next 1 year, our aim is to establish our assessment and training processes at the scale that we will be working on. This will also require us to set our internal structures and processes right”.
We had a wonderful time with the Art of Play team. While wrapping up we asked the team what keeps them going on this tough journey. Their answer just made our day and hope it makes your day too –
If you want to be a part of this Sports revolution through your time, money or expertise please get in touch with Anish Mukherjee at +918478919061 or drop an email to [email protected]