Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Creative Writing a FREE 7-week workshop!

It was another one of those lull evenings where the quiet-ness of the year-end school holidays were sacred. 

While other families busy about signing up their children for one enrichment class after another and their children also get to enjoy all those fun holiday camps that education centres (islandwide!)these days offer... we unfortunately cannot afford to do the same. With 4 children and relying on hubs on a single- income, there are just no extras that even our older ones (children) have stopped asking. So while our family was cosying up watching yet another episode of The X-Factor after everyone pitched in to help clean up the house after dinner, I received a pleasant whatsapp message from a cousin. A somewhat god-sent ad that read..

I texted some replies with the cousin and clarified the part that read... "FREE!" and made a mental note to reach Janelle the next day to book a place for my two elder kiddies. :) Long story short, we got signed up (Yah! Just like that!) and we appeared on her (Sara's) doorstep for our very first session on a wet Thursday the following week.

We had the most warm welcome and was invited to a sit in a cosy room covered with sliding glass doors while waiting for the session to commence.

"Hi. I am Sara and this is my friend, Janelle. Welcome to Dreamcatcher, our Creative Writing programme. We are not teachers so don't call us that. This is our room but it's not a classroom.            

Because it's not a classroom, you can sit anyway you like.. you can lie down.. you can lie flat on your belly.. any way you like."

"There are no tables. We have no tables. But we have these for you. These are your creative boxes. All your work will go into these boxes unless if you want to bring your work home... and no, we don't have homework. We don't do homework. Everything there is to be done, is done here. You can choose to bring home your work if you wish to share them with your family. Aniwaes, these boxes are also your tables. Shall we begin?"

With that introduction all under way, I was eager to see them at work. Yes, parents were allowed to sit in for first few sessions. Dig that! I have always believed people who are great at what they do and have nothing to hide will always encourage open-door policy. Frankly, if you ask me... I love them already. But hey, the session wasn't for me. :p

Session 1 started out with simple introduction of the participants and they got on with an ice-breaker. One that didn't require the children to speak... but instead write. Everyone gets to know one another better by what they write and how they write.

I have come across educators who ask for past written work or have them write something during the first session to supposedly have a formal assessment of the level of each individual child.

In our 1st session, everyone played a FREEZE game. At the moment it was a GO, everyone writes anything that comes to mind. No rules. No genre. Just write anything that comes to mind - just that. If that wasn't simple enough, Sara and Janelle added, "Don't worry about spelling or grammar or the need to input creative writing phrases you have had to memorize. Just... write. Write what you like.. write how you feel.. write freely. When either one of them (Sara or Janelle) said FREEZE, everyone has to put their pencils down and swap papers clockwise.. then, continue writing from wherever the other writer has stopped. The ice-breaker continued about 4 cycles when it was mentioned that everyone has to try to close the story line.

Here's sharing one of the finished stories... by everyone of course. Teeheehee.. :)

Children were invited to enjoy a short break of chocolate biscuits, Toblerones, drinks and pizza chips after everyone read aloud their writing. The above story ended out to be a touching story... Another story which started out sombre (of a friend who was greatly missed) ended up with a pleasantly surprising and funny closure. Suffice to say, the ice was broken. :)

To be continued...

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