But today’s generation of parents are all for supplementing single-minded curricula in schools with the newly minted pedagogy of creative writing. Today, a fleet of independent creative writing courses seek to emphasize writing and communication as essential skills for young people who want to succeed. Last month, a children’s literature festival in Mumbai extended off The Writer’s Bug, a reading and writing forum which organizes fortnightly writing activities in Mumbai. From 17 May, Young Zubaan, the children’s imprint of independent publisher Zubaan, will host a workshop for aspiring young writers, collaborating with The Pomegranate Workshop (TPW), an experience-oriented arts venture, at The Attic, New Delhi. In Bangalore this summer, in addition to sports camps, art and theatre workshops, children can take creative writing courses organized by programmes such as iLeap, a comprehensive after-school children’s curriculum, and small businesses like MyMitra Children’s Library.
Creative writing education has arrived, in a surprisingly big way.
“It’s important for my child to break away from her syllabus and observe the world around her,” says Mumbai-based Vrinda Khattar, who is registering her seven-year-old daughter for a writing course this summer. “An academic curriculum can extinguish creativity. I would want my child to develop the other kinds of intelligence—Howard Gardner speaks of eight different types of intelligence—not addressed by a syllabus.” Khattar realized her daughter, Nitika, would benefit from creative writing classes when she was asked to write for the school magazine; the proud mother says Nitika’s first piece, on her dance practice, was published recently.
Education professionals agree. “Children step out of pre-packaged, pre-defined scripts through creative writing,” says American educator Steven Rudolph, co-founder of the Jiva Public School in Faridabad, Haryana, an ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education)-recognized school with its own curriculum based on Rudolph’s multiple intelligences and multiple natures framework.