Way back in 1997 still a college kid I organised my first Interschool event called Activity, the idea of the event was to give a cool platform for students to participate. Over the years this event was renamed Wizkids more popularly known as Horlicks Wizkids. For over 20 years of my life I have been travelling across South Asia hosting and organising this event. The event was held across 30 to 40 cities every year a over a million students participated in singing, speaking, dance, writing, art, literary and all kinds of competitions. I can safely claim to have witnessed more kids performing than most people can image. Wizkids was not the only event we organised – Spell Bee, Pogo Amazing Kids, Funancial Quest, Dell Champs, Pogo Funtakshari are among the 1000 odd student events we organised over the years.
While we have been very successful in organising school events and giving an opportunity to children to participate. One challenge that we have always faced was the attitude of schools towards events, they mostly prioritize academics over extra-curricular activities. We are living through an event of a lifetime, the lockdown due to the Covid situation. All schools have moved their learning online and learning for them still means academic subjects. Online education means academic learning and we somehow cannot seem to think of anything beyond that. The sad reality is that today inspite of all the talk about overall development the priority of most schools remains academics.
Over all these years of organising innumerable events for children what I have learnt is that children learn more important skills for life by participating in these activities than they do studying academic subjects.
Take the case of a little girl participating in an online dance event, lets live her story for a while. The fact that she chooses to participate itself is a big test for her self- confidence and decision making ability. Once her decision is made starts the journey of anticipation and waiting for the competition day. In the meantime she has to make a lot of choices – what theme to dance on, what music to choose, what costumes to wear, what steps and choreography would suit her performance. All of this would involve a lot of research, speaking to friends, looks for guides and suggestions, living with budget constraints. While this little girl is doing all of this she realizes the importance of practice and puts in a lot of effort to get her performance upto her expectations. On the day she is meant to shoot she will do a lot of takes and retakes to make sure she gets the video right. Once the video is made she is going to spend time editing and packaging it well. In all this process she has to collaborate with a lot of people or online learning to make things happen. Once she submits her entry she waits in anticipation for the results. If she wins she learns what it means to succeed and if she doesn’t she learns the value of participation, she learns that there are dancers better than her and if she can applaud their victory that moves her up a notch in her journey of maturity and confidence.
If we look closely at this little dancers journey it is amazing journey of life skills education. She learnt decision making, problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, handling stress and emotions, self awareness, empathy and a lot more by just participating in the event. The lessons she picks up from this journey will shape her personality and will go a long way in building her future.
I have seen millions of kids on stage and I have seen this journey over and over again. That is the reason why I believe that one of the best ways to help prepare children for life is to give them opportunities to express their talent. In fact the biggest role of parents and schools is not to teach children but to create opportunity’s for them to experience and explore.
The legendary Wizkids is coming back this year in a brand new online avatar to give students across the country an opportunity to participate. This is a great opportunity for students to do something beyond academics in these lockdown times. Wizkids is not just an event where children will dance or speak or paint or write, Wizkids is an experiential master class in life skills!
Download the Krayon App to witness the Wizkids Phenomenon.