Let’s play a word-association game. When I say the word ‘school’, what comes to mind?
Benches, tables, blackboard, books, exams? Perhaps. But the things that bring us joy from our school life are often sports, games, competitions, performances, dance, music, skit, elocution, painting etc. My best memory in middle school is the second place I won in a debate competition — something I’m still known to do rather passionately. A few years later, in high school, I played a cricketer in a school skit, something I have absolutely no touch with anymore.
Because school fests and carnivals are not about becoming great at something. They are often about dipping one’s feet in many things to know which one feels right. School fests and carnivals play a huge role in teaching us to celebrate the finer things in life.
Take the case of Blue Bells Public School in Gurgaon, for instance. Their academic carnival, conducted in pre-COVID 2020, emphasised the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), adding a good measure of arts in it and calling it STEAM. Robotics, cinema, hand-painted handkerchiefs, meteorites and all had their place.
As part of the Christmas carnival last year, Ela Green School in Chennai, presented a tall eco-friendly Christmas tree — made of recycled bottles and colourful lights.
Who says annual days need to be school-specific affair? St. Peter’s High School from Bowenpally made it a global one — bringing 22 best practices adopted by schools from across the world and demonstrating them using performance arts.
This included “forest bathing practised in Japanese schools; curb climate change practised in Indonesia; singing bowl therapy practised in Tibet; laughing yoga from India; scholastic and co-scholastic practices of Ukraine and Slovenia; nutritional food choice of Thailand etc.”
And then, of course, there are the school fests of the alternate universes that celebrate performances in Quidditch, Triwizard tournaments, wizard chess and the like.
In 2020 though, none of this is meant to be. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said recently that school closures in 160 countries has affected over 1 billion students globally. While regular classes are chugging along online, what about the annual days, school fests, sports days and carnivals, that are critical to a child’s well-rounded growth?
Speaking with students, parents and teachers as part of our work at QShala and Family Quiz, we learned that they all miss this part of the school year very much. Parents want their children to showcase their talent; children want to have some good clean fun; teachers want to be part of the excitement and joy of extra-curriculars. Everyone wants the annual carnival!
As we listened to them talk, we couldn’t resist. So, we designed the QShala Unconference!
QShala Unconference is a virtual carnival for children to showcase their talent, play games with family and friends, perhaps become a viral sensation, and have fun while they’re at it.
Who can participate?
There is something for students of all grades.
What can they showcase?
- Creative writing
So, here’s inviting children of all ages to be part of the QShala carnival. We promise it’ll be fun.