OU blog

Personal Blogs

Renu Bhandari

Book release

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Monday, 22 July 2024, 08:51
I am thrilled to announce the release of my latest book, "Examining Stereotypes and Parenting Behaviours of South Asian Heritage Parents: Discourse and Case Studies." This work is a testament to the rich tapestry of parenting philosophies and the resilience of cultural values. A heartfelt thank you to all the parents who shared their stories, enriching this research with authenticity and depth. Their contributions have been instrumental in shedding light on the nuances of South Asian parenting. To my readers, I hope this book offers you fresh perspectives and sparks meaningful conversations on the diversity of parenting experiences. 📚👨‍👩‍👧‍👦   #BookRelease #Parenting #SouthAsianHeritage #CulturalDiversity #Research Bhandari, R. (2024). Examining Stereotypes and Parenting Behaviours of South Asian Heritage Parents: Discourse and Case Studies. IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-6684-9140-9
Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Spring all around !

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Tuesday, 30 Apr 2024, 06:51
Spring is a time of a season of renewal, celebration in many cultures around the world, each with its own unique customs and festivities. In Japan, the arrival of cherry blossoms, or 'Sakura', is celebrated with 'Hanami' picnics under the blooming trees, a tradition that cherishes the fleeting nature of beauty. In Sweden, 'Valborg' is observed on the last day of April to welcome spring; bonfires are lit, and choirs sing traditional songs to bid farewell to winter. The Jewish holiday of 'Passover' commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, and it coincides with spring, symbolizing rebirth, and freedom. In the United States, the famous White House Easter Egg Roll is a beloved springtime event, where children roll decorated eggs across the White House lawn. These celebrations, from the serene to the jubilant, reflect the universal human appreciation for the renewal and hope that spring brings to communities across the globe. In Iran and surrounding regions, Nowruz marks the Persian New Year, symbolizing the victory of spring over darkness, a tradition dating back over 3,000 years to Zoroastrianism. India's Holi festival, known as the "festival of love," is characterized by vibrant colours and community joy, where people throw coloured powders and water at each other in a lively celebration. Slovakia has a unique Easter tradition where boys playfully chase girls with willow branches and water, a nod to ancient spring rites. Thailand's Songkran Water Festival, coinciding with the Thai New Year, sees the entire nation engaging in water fights, symbolizing purification, and the washing away of sins and bad luck. These diverse celebrations reflect the universal human joy at the end of winter and the beginning of a promising new season. Each culture brings its own historical and spiritual significance to the festivities, creating a rich tapestry of springtime traditions around the globe. To the cycle of earth's loving hand, Where every grain of time's vast sand, Marks a beginning, not an end, In spring's promise, our hearts mend !
Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Drawing depicting the experience of Covid for children

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Thursday, 1 Feb 2024, 13:08

Sharing the drawings of children expressing their Covid experience...read the article in full 

Bhandari, Renu (2021). A study exploring key areas of worry in children and their expression through drawings amid COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020. International Journal of Child Development and Mental Health, 9(1) pp. 39–54.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Childhood across the world

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Thursday, 1 Feb 2024, 13:09

The experience of 12-year-old child may vary depending on the time, place, society, and culture they belong to. This means that childhoods are different depending on where and when they happen, and that children’s lives are affected by wider political, social, cultural, and economic factors. Children and childhood are influenced by the social cultural context they are developing and learning in

Case study of Noori, a 12-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh, India.  

Noori is a 12-year-old girl in a small, remote village of Jafrabad in the northern state of India, Uttar Pradesh. Her family comprises of her grandparents, parents, six siblings – two brothers and four sisters. Noori is the oldest of the six siblings and has to take the responsibility for many household chores: fetching water from the village well, cooking for the family, cleaning the house, looking after her younger siblings, helping in the family farming, and contributing to the family income by working in the village market selling the local produce that is set every week on Tuesdays. Noori starts her day at about 6 am and after getting through the routine household chores, she has to walk her two younger brothers to the village school that has facilities to teach children only till class 5. After class 5, all children progress to another school that is about 20 km away from this village and is not easily accessible. Noori went to school only till class 3 and had to give up school because she was expected to contribute to the family income and add in extra pair of hands for household chores. In the afternoon, Noori helps her parents in the farm with sowing seeds, watering the fields, and reaping the harvest. All these tasks are seasonal and dependent on the time in farming year. In between the rest periods from the farming, Noori enjoys singing and being with her friends, who are of the same age group, and they make some time to meet every afternoon. There are no resources for learning or leisure in the village except an annual village fair. Noori looks forward each year to that fair.  

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Students at the heart of what we do !

Visible to anyone in the world

Student journeys and their experiences are valuable and so are the journeys of our tutors in the Open University. Last year had been challenging for all ALs and staff in terms of the new AL contract and related issues. What is incredible is that the support we give our students, engagement with learning and creating curiosity to develop in areas of learning did not stop. The filter of “all is not working” was carefully screened and opened only in team discussions Staff tutor meetups, ALTRA and so on. Celebrating the incredible power, resilience, and motivation of our tutors to change and persist in the difficulties to change student lives through teaching in the Open University. Remarkable effort of all our ALs make the Open University what it is today and will lead to an ever evolving organisation, accepting change in powerful way for our students are at the heart of all we do !

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Project on Neurodiversity

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Monday, 30 Jan 2023, 10:27

It has been a very insightful project to learn about what the students want in the terms of study skills and support moving from Access to level one study in the Open University. Please read and share the great insights with all!

Bhandari, R. and Rainford, J., 2023. Exploring the Transitions of Neurodivergent Access Students to Level One Study: Narratives of Study Skills and Support. International Journal of Educational and Life Transitions, 2(1), p.5.DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/ijelt.38

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

WELS award 2022

Visible to anyone in the world

Awards are always motivating, reinforcing, celebratory and humbling. As this award is student nominated, it holds a very special meaning for me. Along with the delight of receiving this amongst some very deserving other ALs, this award now bestows more responsibility on me as a tutor to excel further in my teaching practice. I enjoyed reading what my students had to say about my teaching and support to them throughout the year and what they learnt going forward in their journeys with the Open University. After consecutive nominations through past three years, receiving the award FINALLY makes me feel …. YAYYYY !” 🎉🎉.🏆

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Hues -Building wellbeing and connectedness in Associate lecturers

Visible to anyone in the world

The key aim of this project "Hues" in Access Open and Cross Curricular Innovation (AOCCI) was to involve all ALs in Access with creative arts and boost their wellbeing through connectedness and positive sense of self through expressions on Hues. This encompassed expressions through paintings, drawings, creative writings, crafts, and photography etc. These creative pieces were shared through an online virtual gallery (Hues) created on Open Studio easily accessible to all.  The key aims of this project were as follows.


1.    Build a sense of connectedness and self-expression in the Access AL community.

2.    Enhance wellbeing and reduce isolation of Access ALs through creative expression of arts.

3.    Create a safe space for Access ALs to build their self-care and wellbeing.

4.    Encourage inclusion of all Access ALs giving them a diversity of expression through creative choices rather than just academic writing and teaching.

Attached are some images form 2021-2022 galleries. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari


Visible to anyone in the world

Celebrating the Guy Fawkes Night on 5th Nov,  here is a contribution to my Blog by a 7 year old child. Enjoy.  


Boom, boom, bang, crash

Zooming up in the sky at night

Flashing colours and loads of light

Enjoy the Guy Fawkes night.


Toffee apples, hot dogs and

Popcorn crowds warm up

In the night chill children

Scream and shout

Enjoying the fireworks...



Sparkle, shine, Red, Blue and Green

Oh how I wish all these fireworks

Would be...


Written by        AB (7 year Old)

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Monday, 1 Nov 2021, 19:49)
Share post
Renu Bhandari


Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Wednesday, 28 July 2021, 12:22

One of my early years student has penned a beautiful poem titled- "Hope".


When the night imprisons me,

I urge to set the hope free.
To make it easier to accept
the darkness prevailing.

Not too dark, no, not too long
For the light in the sky is still not gone!
The Stars twinkle and the moon shine
Making me feel just fine.

Thoughts are dark roaring loud,
piercing the silence quite proud.
Murky feelings question the future,
Coercing to assess the blessed presence.

Desires and dreams fill my day,
Reasons and patience part the play.
Hope holds me strong,
To chase after what's longed.

It is too far away in the distant,
Even if I'm persistent !
Trying to reach the impossible,
I forget to accept it is implausible.

Never give up! tells, my mind;
I have already left reasoning behind.
Failure sabotage my self confidence,
Self - worth and all that give little countenance.

Therefore, when the night imprisons me,
I urge to set the hope free!
In an attempt to accept
the Darkness prevailing.

Accept the darkness as it is,
it is not too dark, no, not for long.
There is light in the sky.


        (I always wanted to work with children, though, straight after my degree in Science I ended up working in multi national companies for nearly 8 years. I needed more than just a financial freedom. Something like, hearty satisfaction at the end of the day to say my work is not just a job but something I wake up to every morning. So, I quit my job at that time and finished a diploma course in Montessori pedagogy. Since then, there is no turning back. Its been 8 years since. I worked in a Montessori school in India until I moved to the UK. In the UK, I have worked with parents of the at risk children called Family learning and currently, I work in an early years setting).

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Monday, 26 July 2021, 10:53)
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Visible to anyone in the world

Reflective practice is very commonly used word in early years practice and learning particularly. As majority of the modules come to end now in the Open University is great opportunity for all students to look back and take a stock of many aspects of their learning and how it can impact their practice. Hold the mirror close and see how your learning and you as an early year’s practitioner have changed!

Start with the beginning of the module and your learning’s starting point along with the study skills that you were confident in. Has the module added more confidence or added as a new academic skill that you can take forward to the next module?

Relook the knowledge part the module has contributed to your holistic development as an early year’s practitioner. Would you feel confident now say for example, talking about a particular theory, concept, ideas that has really been novel to you on the module?

Has there been a change of approach and direction in how your personal and job-related commitments have been managed on the module so far? What has worked for you as an early year’s student for time management? 

Think of the advice that you would like to give to yourself may be to a new student on the module. This helps you to rethink and reflect to “tune in” to your worries at the start of the module and what not to take forward to the next module journey.


And lastly, let the learning Journey continue!

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Be like a sieve….

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 14:29

Many professionals feel that staff development is a mandatory way of ticking the required number of hours of engagement. Learning is personalised only when the “learning to learn” is accounted for.  For many staff development events are a prime opportunity to pick up fresh perspectives, ideas, concepts, research topics and share good effective practice. Reflecting on some events have attended recently, I can surely say that each event opened many ideas and suggestions for me particularly.   Events encompassed topics like Talking to Students, Decolonising Curriculum ACCESS, Neurodiversity Digital Tools, Praxis -scholarship event. While attending all these events of celebration of success and hot topics in present and the future, I realised that the best way you can make most of the staff development is through keeping perspective of the following.

Know who you are – Your identity as a scholar and researcher or even as a listener is important in taking away the relevant material form the session in progress. Here your work, your relevant engagements, the students and staff you cater for are extremely important. Who am I? Where can I take this topic further? Who will benefit?

Be like a sieve- Pick up topics that interest you and build on your motivation and work or academic content. There may be many topics that are highlighted and discussed and the ones that appeal to you may be totally different to you. Be selective, be critical and be open to new ideas.

Model and shape- After the sessions it is worthwhile to reflect and rethink your methods, approach, topic or may be the way you have decided to explore or research a particular area and another topic.

Build the communities- Each research or staff development event introduces you to new people and communities who may have similar or different interests. Sharing effective practice of teaching, learning and researching can be further effective in building a sense of belonging to these events. Grow and enable growth of others!

The research eco system depends on the interdependence of communities of scholars supporting each other and self in revising, revisiting and remodelling ideas, pedagogy and practice.   

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Machli jaal Ki rani hai

Visible to anyone in the world

A child minder approached me once and asked for nursery rhymes in Hindi. She was panicking that OFSTED visit to her setting may be marked down for not having inclusive resources. Inclusive practice and inclusion of variety of resources from various cultures across the world can enhance early years practice and make it engaging for children. This can further help in knowledge and understanding of the world in a fun way.  Exploring different cultures and countries can give a rich source of insight into cultural differences and these can used effectively to enhance practice. Use of another language can initiate interest in new words of another language.

Actions with the nursery rhymes and micro tunes, musical instruments further enhance the fun, exploration, team building and cooperation in children.  Here is an example of a nursery rhyme in Hindi. Set the group of children in a circle. Ask children to place the right hand over the left hand to make fish shape and start.



Machli jaal Ki rani hai                                         ( A fish is the queen of water)

Jeevan uska paani hai                                         ( Water is fish’s life)

Haath lagao, darr jai gi                                    ( Touch it with your hand to scare it)

Bahaar nikaloo, maar jai gi                                ( Take it out (of Water) and it will die)


At the end of the nursery rhyme all participants in the group have to drop on the floor and play dead! Try it in your setting and let the fun and exploration begin.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Seek,explore, reach out and cope

Visible to anyone in the world

Another lock down, multiple commitments of family, work and studying can get you into a state of monotony, pressure and stress. The feeling of not being able to break this monotony each day can be demotivating and pulling students away from their study focus too. You can break this monotony of each day in the lock down by doing simple things that can be refreshing and great to build back your motivation and interest back in the study.

1.       Do one new thing each day. It could be a new book reading, taking up to support your child on a new project or online learning, or simply just decluttering some important spaces that may come handy to you later on.

2.       Develop some hobbies- art, book reading, learning a new language, take a shot term course, photography and so on.

3.        Engage with nature- just gardening, bird watching, creating spaces of reflection and peace outside and inside can help.

4.       Talk to others through online devices and resources.

5.       Use technology and social media to arrange virtual coffee hours, chat time with family and friends, virtual games or quiz night.

6.       Seek help if you are feeling depressed, anxious or lonely. There are many confidential online resources within the Open University that offer excellent support 24/7. Check the link below https://help.open.ac.uk/togetherall-24-7-free-confidential-online-mental-health-support

7.       Plan each day with a difference in pattern of work you do. Patch the work hours with some free, reflective and rest times.

8.       Keep physical and mental health at the top no matter what you do.

Always remember that you are not alone in this pandemic. Seek,explore, reach out and cope well!

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Natalie Webb, Thursday, 11 Feb 2021, 10:14)
Share post
Renu Bhandari

The Journey begins....

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Monday, 12 Oct 2020, 10:35

As you start you new journey in the Open University, it is important that you know some useful tips and tricks that have been passed to me through student interaction and my practice of over 17 years with the Open University.

1.       Plan your time well ahead of the deadlines.

2.       Note the deadlines of the assessments in electronic diaries, calendar, desk top calendars for easy reminders and catch up.

3.       Draw on resources around – friends, family, partner and colleagues for support around the deadline dates of assessments.

4.        Talk to your tutors and read the assessment guidance carefully before attempting any assessment.

5. Try to attend as many tutorials as possible. You can attend any tutorials not just the tutorials run by your own tutor. 

6.       Forming support groups in social media is good however, it is important that you follow the advice set in the assessment guide and the course pages carefully. The ONLY monitored forums are the ones on the Open University course websites.

7.       For students attempting two modules together, it is advisable to keep the overlapping deadlines in the planning and time management.

8.       “I CAN DO IT” should be your driving motto.

9.      The Open University is distance learning however, the help and support is not "distant". Your tutor can support you for all academic queries, Student support teams for all student and loan and study related issues and the IT helpdesk for IT issues. All you need to do is reach out for support!

10.       Create a buffer of study reading and activities if you have time. This is a good way to ease pressure on yourself. If life catches on, you have already done the tasks for the week ahead!


Good luck with the start of the new academic term and best wishes for a successful year!

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Sarah Wilson, Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020, 18:12)
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Evaluation of traditional Indian games and implications for practice.

Visible to anyone in the world


What is play?

Roles, resources and relationships are starting points for all play and help in creating an environment that connects and enriches the social psychological aspects of development in children. Play in children is dependent on a range of variables (Brooker, 2011) and the term play itself can encompass a range of activities and opportunities that children encounter. Children make meaning create, engage with others and build on their learning process with play. Different perspectives on play understand and interpret the purpose of play differently (Canning and Goodliff, 2017). This has wider implications for practitioners in early years. Some perspectives define what play does and others define what play means.  The evolutionary perspective talks of how play can enable the child to learn and practice the skills that may be useful for later life. The developmental perspective highlight show play develops through various stages and with age of the children, it becomes more sophisticated and complex. The Education perspective highlights how play can enable children develop thinking, learning and cognitive skills with interaction with the peers and adults around them. Play helps in making social interaction with others and making positive relationships with other people around. The Sociology perspective clearly highlights this view. In the light of the play work perspective all practitioners should create spaces and places for children where they have autonomy and choice.

Play and culture

Studies have attempted to explore the relationship between play and culture focussing on the free time activities of children. Anthropological and sociological observations of children’s play have been evident in studies by Opie and Opie (1969) and Schwartzman (1979). Gosso (2010) explored children’s play in traditional Parakana hunting societies in Brazil. In studies by Lancy (2002, 2007) it was evident that children try and create the adult behaviours and actions in their pretend play. Actions of the hunting community which were gender specific like boys imitating hunting and bow and arrows play and girls recreating grinding flour, weaving baskets was clearly visible. Goldman (1998) researched play among the Huli of the Southern Islands of Papua New Guinea. He found that play helped children to create and practice their linguistic interaction. Further the play activities enhanced the social interaction making children more knowledgeable members of the community. Play helps in identity formation in children (Itsumi-Taylor, 2006). In a study on Hausa children in Nigeria, Salamone and Salamone (1999) found that culturally specific criteria are part of pure play and play ceases when adults intervene. Eifermann (1971, 1979) highlighted that the location, socio economic status and ethnicity are important for the macro culture to which play contributes.    


Socio cultural perspective

The socio-cultural perspective maintains that play is influenced by different ideas, customs and social behaviour of the people around the child. These influence the range and type of play children experience and develop in.  Play is therefore shaped by participation. It enables all to be actively involved in the community and share ideas. Integrating the cultural and environmental influences in play can make all play effective. Long et.al (2007) maintains that children are active agents in their own socialisation process and play is culturally constructed and maintained.  The socio-cultural perspective on play maintains that children have the ability to integrate and fit in with the experiences of the adults, peers around them.  At the same time children have agency or autonomy of making sense of the what is happening around them as a result of their actions and reactions. Mayall (2000) maintains that is its useful therefore to involve children into decision making process about issues that impact them in any way. Further, Goncu et.al. (2000) explored four cultural communities (San Pedro, Guatemala; Kecioren, Turkey; Dhol-Ki-Patti, India; Salt Lake City, United States) for cultural variations in play. The frequency and partners in play varied across different cultures.

Play helps in understanding the society and cultural norms and give context to the meaning a child is making. Besides learning about the culture and making meaning in a cultural context, many play games help in attaining skills like teams building, decision making, planning, strategy and communication. Most traditional play games include singing and micro tunes that add to the enjoyment of the play activity.  Many structured play games are handed from one generation to another as a treasure to engage and learn from. Cultural customs, values and traditions are embedded in these play games. Some of the games can be traced back to mythology and scriptures. It is therefore important to understand the relevance of these play games in the present-day context and their wider implications for practice.

Play helps to connect three important aspects of socio-cultural learning for the children –the natural environment, other children and peers and with the wider community. Tovey (2007) discusses the importance of roles, resources and relationships in outdoor play experiences of children.  Greitemeye and Cox (2013) reported that cooperative play can lead to cohesion which activates trust in players and leads to further cooperation. This can further extend to cooperative behviours outside the play situation in personal and social experiences of children too.  Some studies emphasize the role of nature and playing outdoors on children’s physical and psychological well-being (Gleave, 2009; O'Brien & Murray, 2006). With the limitations in spaces and funds most of the play spaces are barren play fields with little shades and imagination. The onus is therefore on all to enrich the play experiences of children with games and play that integrates the connection with nature well.   

Many traditional play games are set in the outdoors, teaching children the value of environment and giving then an opportunity to connect with nature.  Outdoor play can enhance problem solving and social competence (Greenfield, 2004). Outdoor environment can challenge, engage, inspire and provoke" Davis (2010) (p. 64). Some studies like Carson (1956) and Wilson (2008) highlight the “fascination” of the natural world for the children’s play. Outdoor play is advantageous for its plasticity, complexity and manipulability of materials (Elliot and Emmett, 1997). Children can take risks and outdoors provides open ended opportunities for play that can help children reach their full potential.  (Greenfield, 2004). This risk taking allows children to steer away from behavioral issues that may emerge from risk taking and challenging the social norms and rules.   

With a clear focus on most games set outdoors, in many Indian folklores some games with sticks (Gili Danda), stones (Pithu), body (kabaddi) and rope (Rasa) have been detailed. Lord Shiva has been detailed playing Pachisi with his wife Goddess Paravati in Hindu scriptures.   Dating back to 400BC, written in Sanskrit by sage Vyasa, this epic scribe the details of Hindu dharma (religion) and moral law. The study details the rivalry and battle of evil and good between two set of cousins- Kauravas and Pandavas. In the Sanskrit epic of Mahabharata (The Great Epic of Bharata Dynasty) the Kauravas and Pandavas play many of these games. The notorious dice game that led to the epic battle is detailed here too.  Mahabharata is an important source of information for the development of Hindu religion and beliefs and contains the most famous chapter of Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. The historians have gathered ample evidence from the Mughal era about many games like chausar and chess. The royal chess was played with court members dressed as pieces of chess-horse, king, queen, rook, knight, bishop and pawn in the royal courts.   

For the present review some traditional Indian play games have been selected


Gili Danda- This game involves minimum two people and can be played with up to 5 people at a time. The simplistic toys that are required to play this game are a long stick (danda) about one foot and a block of wood (Gili), which is tapered and shaped from the ends. Each player has to tap and lift the Gili with the Danda and try and toss the Gili as far as possible to win. Once the Gili is lifted and tossed the distance from the start point to the end is calculated with the walk length and the person with the Gili furthest away wins. A score card can be kept on the side and the match can be decided to about 5 -6 turns each.

This game is played in rural Indian areas to a large extend and the urban city areas where the open spaces are limited. This game calls for two simplistic tools. Both Gili and danda are easily available or can be made with real tree branches and available wood. The children can have fun making the Gili and danda from the branches and wood lying around. This helps in allowing the children explore the outdoors around and be creative with their plans of shaping and designing the tools. The Indian culture and tradition pride itself in working with the harmony with nature “prakriti” (Sanskrit word – nature). This game helps children identify the and explore the outdoors with minimum damage and build play toys/tools that are recyclable.  Turn taking and allowing each member of the game to perform best is kept in focus all throughout. The number of turns can be added or reduced depending on the decision of all members playing. The distance the Gili goes to is calculated by the walking strides and can help children learn about maths and simple addition and distance measuring.

Pithu- This is a game played in two teams with minimum two members to twelve members. The game is played with a stack of seven flat stones which are piled in a circle drawn. A ball is then thrown by a team member of the first team to de stack the stones. The team then works together to rebuild the stack of stones in the order the game started off with. The other team members pass the ball around and hit the members as they attempt restacking the stones. Each time the ball touches the team member they have to leave the game and pass the challenge to the rest of the team.


To start the Pithu, the two teams explore the outdoors to find stones that are flat shaped and can be stacked well. Going out individually or in pairs to do this can be an enriching experience and time to bond with the team members. Once the stones are collected and ready the teams then take turns to decide which team takes the turn first to hit the stack.  This game calls for strategy (Hindi word -Rananeeti) and planning (Hindi word-Yojana). The two teams have to work together, plan and guess the moves of each player to make sure that the task of restacking the piles of stones is achieved. The value of perseverance and hard work is a theme throughout this game. 

Kabaddi-The term kabaddi is derived from the Tamil words Kai and pidi – which means “holding hands”This game involves two team usually comprising of seven team members each. A field or open space of about 10 metres x 13metres is chosen for this game. A member of the team is sent to the other team’s side as a “raider”. The raider touching the ground for success. This raider has to tag and wrestle the opposite team members before returning back to the half of his own team in the field. The opponents holding hands have to stop the raider from escaping their side of the field and make him loose his one breath chant of kabaddi.  The raider has to continuously chant Kabaddi in one breath without a break. Twenty minutes halves are set out for the two teams with a break in between.

This is another game where minimum resources are required to create enjoyment and fun in the play. Group identity and team spirit (Hindi word – Shayog Bhavana) become key part of this game. The physical aspects of wrestling, tagging and holding one’s breath to chant Kabaddi while playing builds resilience in children. Strategy and building prompt reaction times (Hindi word-Phurti) are key to winning this game. The competitive spirit in the game helps children to develop positive self-image. This game has gathered momentum and is now played internationally in many countries of south Asia including India, China and Japan.

Gutte-This game is played five pebbles. This game can be played by any number of players.  Children explore the outdoors and the available surrounding in finding evening shaped pebbles that can be held in the same hand all at once.  The five pebbles are thrown on the floor and then the task involves tossing one pebble in the air allowing the player to pick one other pebble at the same time. A winning player is the one who manages to pick all five pebbles in without dropping the hold of others.

 This game calls for psycho motor coordination along with quick swift rhythmic moves. Some rural villages have their own regional micro tunes that are sung by children playing game. Creative engagement (Rachnatamkata) of the children in turning small pieces of wood or beads to gutte is commonly noticed.


Another game played widely across all ages and stages of development (from about 3 years to 12years) is an adapted, creative version of traditional tug of war. This game is known for involving children in their creative choices, allowing participation of all children of all abilities, skills and ages in one.    

Posham Pa- This game requires minimum 5 players up to 12 players. The game starts with two players who are asked to   choose two titles which are not their real names. These could be names of rivers, flowers, fruits, countries. These two players then start the rhyme/micro song “Posham Pa” holding hands to make and arch. The whole team has to pass through the arch while the song lasts and in the last rhyme the player can be caught with the arch coming down. The player is then ushered to a side and his given two choices -names of fruit, flowers, things, toys. The caught player makes a choice and then has to stand behind the chosen arch player. After the whole team or group of players are caught and had their turn, a tug of war is ready between the two team. A line is drawn and all team members hold the two players who made and arch. The winning team is the one that drawn the arch player over to their side on the line.


Micro song

Posham Pa bhi Posham Pa

Posham Pa bhi Posham Pa


Sahthiyo ne kya kiya                                   ( What did my Friends do?)

Sau rupee ki gharee churaiye                     ( They stole a hundred-rupee watch.)

Ab to jail me aana parega                          ( Come to the prison now)

Jail ki roti khanee paragee                          ( You have to eat  prison food)

Jail ka pani pina parega                            ( You have to drink  prison water)

Ab to jail me anna parega.                        (Come to the prison now)



Posham Pa bhi Posham Pa

Posham Pa bhi Posham Pa



Posham pa involves team and team working effectively. The micro tune or rhyme that is sung with this game has moral lessons of not stealing as guided by the social norms. The micro song highlights how as a result of stealing has negative consequences. The micro song is in the Hindi and helps the young players to build the rhythm, language and new words.  Creative choices of names and titles enables the players to explore and embed their ideas and decision making in the process. Besides the physical strength and its exhibition, the fun of this game lies in the gradual building of the two teams and the thrill of who wins in the end in the tug of war. The socialisation of children in the whole process of team building and then working together to achieve a common goal is embedded in the Indian values and traditions of Vishvah Kutubakam” (Sanskrit-The whole world is one big family)


Implications for practice

Inclusive environment in settings with embedding traditional games from various countries-Involving children of different abilities, needs, cultures, religion and beliefs in activities that engage and enrich all can be done easily through these traditional games. According to Ofsted (2019), 'fundamental British values' are: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. These traditional games can embed the British values in children of all ages and stages. The simplicity of the roles, resources and relationships in these games can enable children to develop a Holistic view of self and others. With an increasing stress on the curriculum, behaviour and development (Ofsted, 2019) these games and play experiences can build the substance of education and delivery in all settings.   

Learn from the past to make the best of now and the future- As there is an increasing pressure on schools and early years settings for funds, these games can become an integral part of the curriculum delivery without much funding or resources. It can help both children and staff to connect with the outdoors reaping the huge benefits of being outdoors without much investment in the outdoor space organization and development. Getting to know a culture, it’s   heritage and norms can help children build the knowledge and information about the various countries and world as a whole Vishvah Kutubakam” (Sanskrit-The whole world is one big family)

Language learning and social psychological “cushion” for children with special needs- These games can help both staff and children learn words for Hindi, Sanskrit and some regional languages with ease. Emotional and psychological well-being and “feeling good” factor of these games is undeniable. In children with special needs these games can be instrumental in giving a sense of self-worth, competence and creative expression. Children can be active agents in adapting these games to create their own with their own set of rules. Children’s agency and choice making in teams, pace of the game, rewards and awards can lead to an enhanced experience of play. Language learning and participation can lead to effective group working that can be drawn in real classrooms too.

Window to another culture and its traditions- These games are opportune windows that can enable children and practitioners to develop further curiosity and engagement in different countries, tradition and culture. Working with parents from different cultures to support such efforts in schools and settings can build positive relationships with the parents. Parents who have barriers of language and confidence in dealing with settings can easily interphase with the practitioners to support the development and learning of their children.    

In conclusion, these traditional games are starting points for both children and practitioners. The key stake holders including the parents, and community can further benefit from including these games and types of play experiences in every day delivery of curriculum across settings.  “Tradition is seen as an ongoing process that does not die out but whose manifestations in forms, beliefs and activities wax and wane and transform, making perceivable lineage and setting in motion new ones through time and across geographical space” (Bishop and Curtis, 2001, pg10).This statement can be aptly applied to these traditional play experiences that set in motion some creative and adapted versions of play giving children more agency and control on creating their own unique play experiences to share .


(3591 Words)








Bishop, J.C and Curtis, M (2001) Play today in Primary school Playground, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Brooker, L. (2011) ‘Taking play seriously’, in Rogers, S. (ed.) Rethinking Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education: Concepts, Contexts and Cultures, Abingdon, Routledge.

Canning and Goodliff (2017)Exploring play and creativity: the child’s perspective”, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Carson, R. (1956). The sense of wonder. New York: Harper and Row.

Elliott, S. & Emmett, S. (1997). Snails live in houses too. Melbourne, Victoria: RMIT Publishing.

Mayall, B. (2002) Towards a Sociology for Childhood: Thinking from Children’s Lives, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Gleave, J. (2009). Children's time to play: A literature review. London: Play England.


Göncü, A. (1999) (Ed.) Children’s engagement in the world: Sociocultural perspectives (pp. 25–37). New York: Cambridge University Press.


Goncu, A, Mistry, J, and Moiser, C.  (2000) Cultural variations in the play of toddlers, International Journal of Behavioural Development, 24 (3), 321–329


Göncü, A., Tuermer, U., Jain, J., & Johnson, D. (1999). Children’s play as cultural activity. In A. Göncü (Ed.), Children’s engagement in the world: Sociocultural perspectives (pp. 148–170). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Greenfield, C. (2004). Can run, play on bikes, jump the zoom slide and play on the swings: Exploring the value of outdoor play. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 29(2), 1-5.

Greitemeyer, T and Cox, C. (2013) There's no “I” in team: Effects of cooperative video games on cooperative behavior, European Journal of Social Psychology, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 43, 224–228

O'Brien, E., & Murray, R. (2006). A marvelous opportunity for children to learn: A participatory evaluation of Forest School in England and Wales. England: Forestry Commission.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) (2019) https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted ( Accessed on 18/5/2019)

Tovey, H. (2007) Playing Outdoors . Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education

Wilson, R. (2008). Nature and young children. Encouraging creative play and learning in natural environments. New York: Routledge






Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Renu Bhandari

Diversity in early years

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Thursday, 20 Aug 2020, 20:23

Diversity is like a mat with woven patches where each patch adds a unique colour and function to the whole. For a developing child and family, these diverse unique experiences shape the learning and understanding of self and others. A child that grows in a diverse early years environment will develop a positive self esteem and is on track to being a “Global child”.

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Giuliana Guglielmi-Jervis, Wednesday, 1 July 2020, 17:41)
Share post
Renu Bhandari

I hear myself

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Renu Bhandari, Thursday, 20 Aug 2020, 20:25

I hear myself- Effective learning design in Adobe and Face to face sessions in Early years  

 The core threads of all teaching programmes are; employability, ethics, responsibility and global and cultural insights (Butcher, 2014).  Face to face tutorials and online ADOBE sessions are two very diverse and unique tools used by all ALs in early years course presentations. Confidence in using these two tools effectively to create learning environment that makes the learners independent is a challenge for all. The ultimate goal of the two mediums is to encourage learners to be independent implies that learners take sole charge of the process and direction of learning (Balapuni and Aitken, 2012). Engestrom, (1999) maintains that key aspects - learners, others, learning environment, learning activity and the learning outcomes are vital in planning all sessions.

All sessions should aim for, as Garrison’s (1997) states on how to develop effective learning environment considering self-management and control of the learning task, self-monitoring and responsibility along with motivation and self-efficacy as important factors important for independent learning.

In both types of delivery of the design of the session is an important aspect. There are five key components to keep in mind when designing any online or face to face session with the learners - People(who), Shared purpose (Why), Locating framework and social conditions (where), Method (How), and Activity (What). (Brenton, 2014). Most sessions are tailored according to student needs. Knowing students-as active, social creative learners (Phillips, 1995) can aid a tutor to plan sessions effectively

The important aspect in online sessions is not only to build the understanding of the core concepts of the related course but to help students develop and deal with “Social Presence” (Kear, 2010). This means to create an active learning community and encourage students to engage with each other. Many studies affirm use of digital media and its impact on roles and relationships (McConnell, 2005). It is effective to set expectations and ground rules well before interactions begins online or in face to face tutorials. Most tutorials should clearly link to learning outcomes (Brown and Atkins, 2007; Moore et.al. 2008).

 In each online session, ALs should make a clear attempt to include critical analysis and reflection. The activities should be inclusive encouraging students of all different learning styles to engage. Multiple prompts and peer feedback along with all learners realizing their own personal goals (Brenton, 2014). This makes any online session much more than “I hear Myself” ……   



Balapumi, R and Aitken, A (2012) ‘Concepts and factors influencing independent learning in IS higher education’. In ACIS 2012: Location, location, location. Proceedings of the 23rd Australasian Conference on Information Systems, 1–10.

Butcher, C. (2014) 'Describing what students should learn' in Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. and Marshall, S., A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education : Enhancing academic practice, e-book, accessed 24 Oct 2016, http://open.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1770537 Chapter 6.

Brenton, S. (2014) 'Effective online teaching and learning' in Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. and Marshall, S., (2014), A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education : Enhancing academic practice, e-book, accessed on 18 October 2018 <http://open.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1770537>

Engeström, Y. (1999) ‘Activity Theory and individual and social transformation’, in Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen and R.-L. Punamaki (eds) Perspectives on Activity Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McConnell, D. (2005) ‘Examining the Dynamics of Networked E-learning Groups and Communities’, Studies in Higher Education, 30 (1), 23– 40.

Garrison, DR (1997) ‘Self-directed learning: toward a comprehensive model’, Adult Education Quarterly, 48(1): 18–33.

Kear, K (2010) Social Presence in Online Learning Communities. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning 2010. Accessed on 18 October 2018 https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/open/reader.action?docID=1770537&ppg=14#

Ketteridge, Steve, Heather Fry, Stephanie Marshall, Steven Ketteridge, Heather Fry, and Stephanie Marshall. A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, edited by Steve Ketteridge, et al., Taylor and Francis, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central. Created from open on 2017-01-11 03:18:32. Accessed on 18 October 2018, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/open/reader.action?docID=1770537&ppg=14#  


Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar: How technology is changing scholarly practice, London: Bloomsbury Academic.


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Elizabeth Cox, Saturday, 4 July 2020, 14:54)
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 9969