Kindergarten teacher Poonam Sethi uses poetry to inculcate expression in children

Poonam Sethi’s Fun with Poems is a collection of 10 educative, short poems for children

For Poonam Sethi, every morning begins with 50-odd smiling faces and a lot of recital within a noisy classroom. This kindergarten teacher based in Bengaluru, who has been in the field for the past 38 years, sure does know how to keep the tiny ones engaged — especially through words, rhythm and enactment. So, it is not surprising that a lot of responses from her students have seeped into her latest collection, Fun With Poems, published by Bengaluru-based MerryGoBooks.

It all started when Poonam had to stay back at home, a broken toe in tow. “I was away from school for 10 days, and didn’t know what to do! That is how these poems came about,” says Sethi, adding that she quite enjoys the fact that her readers will be little children, for the most part. Since reciting poems in her class is a customary affair, composing a few was not very hard. The fact that poetry is an excellent medium to inculcate expression and movement in children, only added to her interest. So, most of the poems in her collection are educative in nature.

For instance, the book starts with Grandma’s Birthday Card, which traces the journey of a child who wants to give his grandma a birthday card. His story begins with the making of the card, to pasting stamps, and then going to the post office to drop the card off. In another one, called The Police Station, the reader joins the writer on a visit to the police station and various observations follow. “The look on their faces is what makes me do many things, you know,” she says with a chuckle.

Poonam Sethi

Poonam Sethi  
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special arrangement

How did she zero in on these topics? It was all part of an imaginative process, Poonam says. “I was reading about an article on a library and started imagining what a child would do inside it. How would she explore? Then I thought about other similar places — like the bank, a police station and airport.”

As a teacher, Poonam’s prime focus is to build a relationships with her children, as soon as she walks into the class. “I first discuss the poems with my children. Then, we do some activities related to the topic. These activities are also designed in such a way that any teacher can pick up the book, and start right away. Once that is done, the whole idea gets reinforced and children love that.” The poems in the collection, are written to coax children to sing along and also enact. “Poetry has magic in it and transports children instantly into another world. There is also a musical structure and rhythm in poems, which they take to. It helps improve their memorisation skills, which aids literacy skills.”

She recalls an incident from her class — there a little girl who found it difficult to hug anyone. “So we recited a poem on friends a couple of times. And she was able to get over that discomfort. I have observed that even the quieter ones participate,” says Poonam.

To place an order, visit the website www.merrygobooks

.com or write to readwithmerrygobooks MerryGoBooks also makes personalised copies with the child’s name on the cover. It is also possible to print copies without personalisation for schools and libraries.

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