When they began searching for an extra-curricular school for their children, Mehvish Raja and Sazia Afrin, two women who are sisters-in-law, were inspired to open one on their own.
Their school, Wiggles and Giggles, is for children who are interested in a variety of activities. With a focus on arts and crafts, the school also offers Zumba, Karate and Arabic courses.
Based on the children’s needs, the activities at Wiggles and Giggles are carefully developed for each stage and age group that the team works with. The classes are separated according to age categories with one being for ages 3-5 and the other for ages 5-12. Ultimately, the founders hope to establish a fully operational pre-school.
Mehvish was a teacher at Hurdco International School and Sir John Wilson School. Sazia also has many years of experience in private tutoring. So, putting convenience and interests together, they have joined hands to create something new for children, outside the traditional and rigid school curriculums.
Aside from the various activities, Wiggles and Giggles focuses on how to retain the interests of children so that they are always motivated to attend classes on their own. So far, they have had positive responses from the students and their parents. The place is brightly decorated, reflecting the spiritedness of childhood, with a reading corner designated for the children to spend time between classes or when they need a break.
Though the activities may include subjects taught at school, they are taught differently so that the children can hone their individual talents. “Younger children are first given play dough and then taught to hold pencils and crayons in the proper way, as a way of developing their motor skills,” explains Mehvish. “Then, they slowly start drawing lines and simple shapes with colourful crayons. Children are never rushed to complete their artworks and are often given the freedom to choose the topics.”
On special events, the kids make themed artworks and collages. On Pohela Boishakh, they made traditional folk art inspired masks and a small gathering was also arranged for them and their parents. The programme featured dances, music and face-painting. Similar events were also held for Halloween and Christmas.
On a personal note, the women feel lucky to be able to work without leaving their children behind. Within a few months of its inception, the Wiggles and Giggles family already includes 50 students. Trained professionals are hired under the guidance of the two founders to conduct the activities. Admissions to any of the classes take place in the first week of a month. Mehvish and Sazia hope to start with meditation and English and Bangla creative writing classes soon.