10th Anniversary of Neohumanist Education in Malta
By Fabiana Silveira
Looking back at the past 10 years of work, we remember an array of ideas, projects, dreams and realizations which have made Centru Tbexbix what it is today – a project marked by the dedication, passion and hard work of a few visionaries together with volunteers from all over Europe and neighbouring countries, till today counting more than 100, and increasing by about 10 every year.
A good number of education programmes are now firmly established and popular among the Cottonera community, among them Sunrise English Club, Arts & Crafts, Yoga and Sports, as well as Yoga and Art programmes for the elderly which started one year ago.
An all round favourite programme which we chose to write about today, is the Yoga Shoots programme, wherein schools from all over the island are visiting Centru Tbexbix to get a taste of NHE.
Around 30 children from a private or public school attend a morning programme of 3 hours. The children are divided into three groups, and alternate between an hour of yoga for kids, an hour of creative expression and an hour of cooperative games.
During the yoga activity the children are invited to join in a fantasy world where all kinds of animals come across through Asanas .The sessions are planned according to different ages and learning needs. An involvement with a lot of colours, imagination and characters are followed by a happy self-massage and a relaxing story.
At the same time, the other two groups are doing Creativity and Cooperative Games sessions. During Creativity different subjects are presented, mainly related to current cultural fest or just having fun with paper, colour and other media. For this activity there is always a prototype as a sample but a wide window is left for different perceptions and creative possibilities. All the children are happy to take their masterpieces to their school to exhibit or show to their parents.
Cooperation in games is emphasized. In musical chairs all children are sitting in the end, team treasure hunts and producing sculptures make sure that everyone plays, everyone takes care of each other and has fun. Volunteers and children participate in the action and joy of play and nobody is the loser. Whenever possible, music is included in the games allowing children to express themselves through movement, without limits.
A fourth activity happens only when the age is above 8 years. Volunteers of different nationalities present different aspects of their countries’ curiosities, followed by a song and an interactive quiz.
To consolidate the NHE experience, during short breaks between sessions, the children are given healthy snacks based on fruits and vegetables – carrot sticks, cucumber slices, diced apples, etc. It is not the first time that, after eyeing the snacks with a frown, on hearing the repetition of “yummy crunchy orange carrot sticks” and “apple slices for me, apple slices for who?” the trays are emptied in no time.
The success of this program can be measured by the increase in bookings from new schools as well as repeat bookings. This is because, every time, without exception, the children end the programme full of joy and positive energy. Till today we calculate that more than 1,500 children have benefitted from the programme.
Teachers are invited to fill in a feedback form, and below are some of their comments:
“I have been coming here for some years now and it is always a very enjoyable outing for the kids, apart from being educational and fun. Keep up the good work”
“Activities were adapted according to our children’s age. Supervisors were all prepared, nice and very patient. Children enjoyed fruit and vegetable snacks (more than usual!) Relaxed and friendly atmosphere throughout! Truly an enjoyable experience for all the children.”
“It is a lovely and fun-filled programme that all the children enjoyed. They learned how to share and work in teams, how to have fun together and to eat healthy food. Keep it up. Lovely place.”
“A wonderful fun experience for children. Happy people and teachers welcoming them and teaching them things in a loving way. Keep it up. Looking forward to coming next year with my next class.”
“Very good yoga session, adapted to children’s level and explained the different poses very well. The kids just loved it! Keep up the good work! Interesting session about Sweden. There was a very holistic interaction between kids and teachers, very interesting.”
In spite of being a small project, with no possibility to house a proper school, Centru Tbexbix has found a way to utilise its space and human resources to spread Neohumanist Education methods and ideals to hundreds of children and their teachers around Malta. http://www.tbexbix.org/eng/home.htm