Unlike what the name ‘I Wonder Why’ might suggest, it is not a community club for scientists or philosophers or their ilk. On the contrary, it is actually a place where four to 10 year-old kids get together. However, the age group of its participants shouldn’t compel us to underestimate its importance.
The inquisitive nature of children had fascinated friends — 33 year-old Megha Shah and 32 year-old Khyati Dalal for a really long time. It was in trying to satiate this curiosity that they founded ‘I Wonder Why’, an initiative for kids in March 2012. “I have been an engineer for more than 10 years while Khyati has a background in education and childcare. Kids like an interactive experience; it keeps them interested and stays with them longer. We wanted to start something that went beyond the norm of the regular classroom educational setup,” says Shah.
This month has been choc-a-block with workshops being conducted by the duo. They have one on Art forms and another called Motosense, which helps kids understand the functioning of a car. They also have interactive week-long sessions on how the environment functions in the offing. However, their quirkiest workshop is the one scheduled for this week, titled Meet the Baker.
Conducted by Kavita Desai, a veteran baker who has extensive experience in conducting workshops on baking, Meet the Baker will be a five-day module comprising an innovative mix of activities for the children. While on the first day, kids will learn about the various ingredients and implements used for baking, the following day, they will learn how to interact with each other as customers and bakers. This will be followed by a field trip to the renowned Avon Bakery in Jogeshwari, where they will get to witness large-scale baking first hand. In the concluding two days, they will get an opportunity to put into practice whatever they have learnt and bake cookies. As Shah puts it, “The idea is to teach children how to actually bake rather than merely read up on it and forget about it later.”
The objective of ‘I Wonder Why’ also goes beyond merely providing answers to children, or teaching them new skill sets. Shah succinctly summarises the grand mission statement of the venture, “In each of our workshops, we also teach children to become better human beings. Be it a workshop about nature, or food or the environment, we teach them to not only perceive but also cherish and nurture.”