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The year 2019 was a special one at the Learning Hut, one of new beginnings, new lessons and of course, a few disappointments. Yet, I think we have learned something from each one of it.

Over the course of the year, the Learning Hut has explored Inspirational Poetry, Revision Strategies, Food in Literature, Word Origins, Monsoon Poetry, Author Talk (Ruskin Bond) and Strategies in Writing. Our most popular workshops were the ones on Monsoon Poetry, Revision Strategies and Inspirational Poetry.

Apart from the workshops, there were also podcasts on Education and Learning, the most popular one being "Learning Online." Do check out our Soundcloud channel to listen to the podcasts! While this might not seem like much, it's a huge personal victory for the Learning Hut.

We decided to call in a guest speaker for our closing event of the year, Eat the Cake. This event was on Expressive Arts Therapy. This was a bittersweet experience as I feel the quality of this workshop was the best ever from the Learning Hut, and unfortunately, this was the workshop with the least turnout. But hey, I do not lose hope that easily ! :)

Our facilitator for this workshop, was Ms. Aanchal Mohanty, a student of B.Sc Psychology Honours at Christ. She loves to dabble in mindfulness-based therapy and wants to become a forensic psychologist that works in the areas of juvenile delinquency and prison reform. Her focus for the evening was Expressive Arts Therapy, that we lovingly called EAT !

So what exactly is this EAT ? It's a multimodal approach to therapy that incorporates dance, drama, movement, painting and music. The therapist encourages the participant to explore their difficult feelings via art, focusing on the process of creating art rather than its outcome.

The evening started with a beautiful activity that we all enjoyed, where we had to talk about things that indulged our senses - one thing each that we liked to see / hear / touch / feel / taste. The kids came up with beautiful things like touching my dog, tasting pomegranate and much more. This was followed by a short meditation where we had to reflect upon three things that we were grateful for, during the year 2019. It's amazing how a few minutes of quiet can make you think of something that would normally never cross your mind.

Our next activity was to draw our past, present and future selves and talk about it to the group. None of us were typically artistic, and yet, we found creative ways to express what was on our mind. It was also uncomfortable to talk honestly about our feelings, but that was the point of the exercise. The children had a recurring theme in their future selves, that of growing taller ! :) After this, we were asked to draw our fears. Once again, a little unsettling, but definitely worth exploring. I realised a thing or two about my own fears, which surprised me. We then discussed ways to overcome our fears.

It was nice to spend time reflecting upon our thoughts and it was a perfect way to wind down the year and welcome the new year. I am grateful that this opportunity presented itself. I recommend that your try them out too, and there's not better time like the present !

Here's to more fun learning activities from the Learning Hut in the new year and I thank each one of you for playing a role in it ! Happy New Year 2020, folks and we meet with renewed enthusiasm real soon.

Until then, Aloha and don't forget to eat that cake !

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