It was more than fitting that this year’s Children’s Costume and Float Parade was held on February 14, St Valentine’s Day. Watching the future of our country tramp through the streets, one couldn’t help but think, ‘What’s not to love?’
For one thing as usual the parade started close to the stated starting time so that just after midday, it was all over. Thousands of children, ranging from nursery to secondary school in age had paraded from the Parade Ground in Middle Street to the National Park in a matter of just a few hours. Thousands more, some of them babies had been taken to various vantage points and to the National Park as well to watch, support and cheer.
It rained on that day. There were a few heavy showers before and during the parade, but that did not serve as a damper to the festivities.
As usual the costumes were inspired. And while we recognise that in many instances there was heavy input by the teachers (and kudos to them), in some cases the children had creative input in the designs and themes which either worked with the overall theme for this year’s Mashramani or reflected what the children would have learned/are learning. Maybe teachers would consider giving all of the children who worked on their Mashramani costumes an ‘A’ in Art and Craft in the coming end of term exam. They couldn’t all win of course, but the grade would make them all winners – which they are. In a few years, some of these very children will be stepping up to take over from/take on/join up with local designers now at the top of their game. The likes of Sonia Noel, Nelsion Nurse, Olympia Small-Sonaram and others had better prepare.
The costumes depicted several ‘queens’ in the fantasy segment, along with underworld creatures among others. Several schools and children’s organisations opted for a unity theme depicting the six races in different ways. Some looked at health issues and social ills, while others were simply fun.
The argument being made more often recently that learning does not necessarily have to take place in a classroom under a strict curriculum that puts artistically-inclined children at a disadvantage would have been borne out not just by last Saturday’s display but by what had taken place in the week prior as well. That was when the children’s competitions were held – dramatic poetry, dance, calypso and masquerade among others, along with the steel band contest which included children as well as adult segments.
There were nerves and jitters, but the mostly flawless displays spoke to the talent that abounds among our children and their willingness to learn once interested. Many had to learn long poems and songs as well as dance moves. Yes it took practice. Yes they excelled. Can the same teaching/learning concept be applied to Maths and Science to all academic subjects? It is something to think about isn’t it?
While, it really was the children’s day, big ‘props’ are in order for the parents who got involved, assisted when necessary, got them to the starting point on time and cheered them along the way. It should be noted too that the children on the parade also learned dance steps that helped show their costumes to the best advantage. This is what is usually missing from the adult parade billed for Monday next, hence the resort to wining and grinding.
We don’t have to see Monday’s parade to decide. We are prepared here and now to give the award for the better parade to the children and to once again urge the adults to take note and learn from them. Happy Mashramani to all!