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Research in Child Psychology shows that ‘Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning’ Children learn most naturally when they play. In a world that welcomes technology, play has several facets starting from making your virtual player run a race, farming a field in countryside and solving complex puzzels. Play has a cathartic and a therapeutic impact for children especially when their skills to express are naïve.

Basing our ideas on this, Mumbai Smiles joins hands with Disney (http://www.disney.in/) to incorporate Life Skills training through theatre, games, sports and Visual arts at one of our beneficiary schools Pragatik in Marol. Disney holds the credit of creating the most celebrated faces in animation. Ask any child about ‘Mickey’ and they will have an enthusiastic smile on their face. Along with using animation for entertainment, Disney also believes in channelizing its potential in education. Keeping this perspective in the forefront, Disney launched the Disney ABC program (http://corporate.disney.in/citizenship/community) to promote joyful learning in low income group schools. Disney aligns with ‘The looking glass’ (http://thelookingglass.co.in/) and ‘Magic Bus’ (http://www.magicbus.org/) as a part of their CSR under this program. The activities at the school are directly conducted by these two organizations.

The Looking glass has picked up the theme of Animals to approach learning through Art i.e. Music, Dance, Theatre and Visual Art. Hence the inception of this program was marked by the screening of four movies in grades I-IV relating to different kinds of animals viz. insects, sea animal, wild animals etc. Mickey and Friends was screened for the I grade, Jungle book was screened for the II grade, A bug’s life was screened for the III grade and Finding Nimo was screened for the IV grade. The screening was followed by a discussion with the students about what they saw, who were the central characters, what feeling or emotions they could see etc. Similar activities will be conducted through 15 sessions scattered across the year that will aim for holistic approach towards education.

Magic Bus, contributes to this program through its idea of ‘Changing the course of children’s lives. One game at a time’. In the coming weeks they are going to conduct games and activity based sessions to teach children about education, health and hygiene and civic sense.  These activities will be implemented through 20 sessions spread across the academic year.

Fostering creativity and opening up new horizons is what Mumbai Smiles attempts to achieve through its various projects. Every small step makes a big impact. Disney is one such step through which we aim to make a big impact in the society.

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