IBM in 2012 did a poll on 1500 CEO'S across the world and found "Creativity" to be the number one leadership competency. Creativity, in today's world, is not field-specific. Educational qualifications aside, when faced with a career role people are suddenly expected to become creative and generate innovative ideas overnight. Regardless of which field a child eventually enters, creativity and the ability to articulate ideas will be the foundation for success. It is critical to introduce creative thought and innovation to children at a young age. These are the skills that our programme addresses.
The GAIT programme focuses on using the language of movement to communicate an idea, thought or a feeling. When we use our body to express ideas it becomes experiential learning. It is believed that children in their primary years need to have positive creative experiences in order to develop a healthy all round personality. One of our teachers at GAIT sums it up nicely: "I remember in my school, we were always told to 'think differently' but avenues of experiencing creativity were absent. I never had the tools to really understand how creativity can be translated into action." This is exactly what the GAIT programme addresses.
In a GAIT class, improvisation and innovation is encouraged as opposed to imitation which is a typical characteristic of a dance class. We do not restrict ourselves to any single style of dance either. Instead, we urge the children to explore new ways of moving. This is done in a non-judgemental way, where they are free to express themselves using body movement.
GAIT focuses on self-expression and is open for all, regardless of ability or talent. Through GAIT we aim to encourage flexibility, openness and creativity rather than precision. The curriculum is carefully crafted to suit each age group and does not follow a singular structure like most dance classes.
Children will learn the fundamentals of movement which form the basis of any dance technique. They will have the opportunity to explore rhythm, space, expression, and body movements which will make learning any technique (either simultaneously or later) much easier. Apart from this, children are exposed to different styles from around the country and the globe. They learn short dance routines on styles such as Kalari, Japanese dance, mime dance etc. Children of grade 4 & 5 also learn tools and strategies to choreograph their own theme-based dances. A personal experience from a teacher at GAIT: "I used to learn Bharatanatyam as a child but faced great difficulty in understanding rhythm and rhythmic patterns because that was the only exposure I had. Also, there are young children in dance classes who struggle with understanding Right and Left. These basic movement fundamentals are covered in GAIT."
Creative thinking needs to be nurtured from an early age. We cannot expect a child to suddenly start innovating at 18. The environment of a GAIT class is conducive to creative thinking and improvisation. The sessions are fun-filled as well as challenging and thought-provoking.
GAIT focuses on enhancing cognitive skills, thinking and learning skills. We do not use academic concepts in our classes because we think it's important to have a fresh mind throughout. We allow the child to think differently. This has a definite impact on the way children approach regular academic pursuits. In one school, because of GAIT classes children got inclined to think differently. Each child wanted to create something unique and authentic to themselves - in writing essays and in painting. Their thinking skills were enhanced and they were more confident about their ideas.
GAIT enhances the sensory awareness which is key to a child's learning in the early years. They use visual, auditory, kinesthetic (body) senses to learn and experience a concept. Creative movement gives children avenues to explore new ways of moving and helps them recognise that there can be more than one solution to a question, problem or task. Children with varied interests across all age-groups benefit in their overall development, however it has special relevance to children with communication, sensory, developmental or physical challenges.
The curriculum, carefully designed based on research, is divided into 3 units of inquiry in an academic year. Concepts like Opposites, Animals, Transport, Shapes, Colours, Seasons, Water, My home, Community helpers, Prepositions, etc. are integrated into the curriculum. Children creatively explore and embody these different concepts through a variety of fun-filled activities. We build a holistic learning experience out of simple topics.
Our trainers are specially trained in conducting creative movement sessions that are joyful and thought-provoking, as opposed to taking classes of a single dance form. With their diverse backgrounds and rich collective expertise, they bring a unique combination of international frameworks set within Indian sensibilities to the GAIT programme. Our trainers are constantly upgrading their skills with regard to technique. They undergo training in contemporary dance, Release Technique, Physical Theatre, Movement Analysis, Kalaripayattu, Japanese Fan Dance etc. In addition, their performance is monitored regularly to ensure a high standard of delivery.
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