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Youngsters take home valuable lessons from Avenues workshop

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SHILLONG, Jan 29: The curtain has come down on the 15-day AVENUES’ 20th annual winter workshop which had begun on January 6 with the handing over of certificates and progress reports to each participant on Friday in the presence of their parents and the AVENUES faculty members.
AVENUES is a social enterprise which engages in personal excellence training.
One of the key highlights of the workshop was the addition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the curriculum. The sessions were curated in partnership between AVENUES and Mumbai-based ‘Curiosity Gym’ with the aim to nurture curious mindsets and critical thinking in children.
The workshop also included an ‘Open Day’ which provided a platform to the young boys and girls to introduce their passions and interests to their peers, and showcase their talents ranging from dance to beatboxing, poetry, speed cubing, martial arts, sports, art and craft and musical instruments.
A total of 36 participants, aged between 6 and 15, were divided in three batches based on their age – Early Years (6 to 7 years), Juniors (8 to 11 years), and Seniors (12 to 15 years).
Sharing experience, one of the participants, Meaidaibahun Majaw (12) said, “I didn’t like socialising with the others at first. But as I sat through the classes, I grew to realise that teamwork is not that bad because we can achieve more together. This helped me climb out of a hole of isolation.”
On the other hand, 11-year-old Ben-Hanan Oshea Kharmawphlang spoke about the impact of the workshop. “During the first few days, I was very nervous, scared and shy. I did not want to speak in front of people unless I had a team to do it with. But the sessions taught me how to be confident whether I am up on stage giving a speech or talking with people. I also realised that I have the capacity to be a leader.”
Seven-year-old Meshanbor Thangkhiew stood confidently in front of his peers, seniors and trainers to share about the lessons he learnt during his 15 days in the workshop. He said, “I have learnt the values of trust, respect and courage. I can now spell my name using the alphabets in sign language. I also learnt that I must keep good habits close to my heart and throw away my bad habits.”
One of the parents, Davis Lyngdoh, spoke about the impact that the workshop has had on his son. “The time my son spent at Avenues during this workshop has helped him build his confidence. He has become more outspoken, and I can even see a change in the way he thinks.”
STEM sessions will encourage every young person to take interest in learning about Science, Mathematics and Technology, the parent added. “These sessions include out-of-the-box thinking which is very different from what our children learn in school. My son is already looking forward to attending more sessions on STEM,” he said.
Academic Head at AVENUES, Jasmine Laitflang, believes that every child approaches learning differently, and that their learning journey is defined by their interests and learning capacities.
“Music, audio-visual aids, group discussions and games are key components of our training and coaching experiences, and, over the course of the last 20 years, we have seen how they go a long way into forging safe spaces for young minds to explore, learn and grow, therefore giving way to new-found confidence, clarity and wellbeing,” she added.
Earlier, the workshop participants visited Sohrarim Nook, an open learning space in Sohrarim, on January 21 to celebrate Meghalaya Day and engage with the local learners. A key objective of this visit was to instil in young minds a sense of community, cultural pride and ownership.

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