Then an amazing thing happened, an email from a parent was received. Amruta, Neil’s Mummy, asked if she could contribute to the learning that was happening by making masks. This thought from a parent shaped our idea of celebrating host country culture differently. It was a brilliant idea and an opportunity to strengthen the connection between the host country culture and the unit of inquiry and thus establishing a culture of tolerance and respect. The idea of making masks depicting different feelings and emotions for Ravana began taking shape.
The day was set and the masks were made with recycled cardboard boxes. Materials to decorate were brainstormed, listed and collected. The gardener bhaiyas were asked to help us out by making a frame, as always they were more than happy to help, in fact pleased as they fondly reminisced their contributions towards making Ravana for Ms Gina and her ELA children and were glad to continue the tradition. The frame was ready in no time and was left in the class which caused a lot of flutter. Many wondered what it was for and a few found a way to amuse themselves by carefully walking underneath or around it.
Finally the day arrived and Ramayana, the story behind Dussera and Diwali was shared. A picture of the ten headed Ravana was projected onto the screen and the children were asked to observe closely. Each one had their own interpretations of why and how Ravana looked the way he did. The emotions and feelings his faces portrayed with different colours and loose materials available to them, has made our Ravana look unique. I was reminded by passersby that Ravana only has ten heads but our story was never about the ten heads. It is a story of the power of communication, collaboration, trust and the relationships that are crucial for learning.