According to M.K. Gandhi, education is the development of all the aspects i.e. body, mind and spirit. So mind without activities can not develop the personality perfectly. So education must give importance to activities.
Activity is used as a means for imparting knowledge, skills, habits and attitudes. Education, which has no link with life, is meaningless and fruitless. Rousseau, Montessque, Dewey and Gandhiji all headed this movement. All pleaded to relate activity with curriculum. Gandhiji scheme of Basic Education was based on activity.
The basic elements of activity curriculum are the activity of the child. His interest and needs are the prime concern. In the words of John Dewey, “activity curriculum is a continuous stream of child’s activities unbroken by systematic subjects and springing from the interests and personality felt needs of the child.” The modern methods like project method, Heuristic method, Montessori Method, Dalton plan, Source method, etc. are developed with the principle of activity method. Activity includes both physical and mental activities.
The activities of a model activity curriculum may be classified under the following heads:
Activity under Activity Curriculum:
(a) Physical activities:
These activities aim at physical development of the child. It includes physical training, games and sports, action songs, hygienic activities, activities related to food production and collection, cleaning activities.
(b) Environmental activities:
These activities include nature study, excursion, survey, social visit. These activities develop civic sense and love for nature may be developed in children.
(c) Constructive activities:
With these activities love for work, dignity of labor, productive efficiency and scientific attitude may be developed. Handwork, science activities, craft, repairing of tools belong to this category of activities.
(d) Aesthetic activities:
Music, art, creative craft are included in this type of activities. These provide opportunities for self-expression and development of inborn creative faculties.
(e) Community activities:
These activities aim at community development and include community projects, self-government., first aid, social services, etc. these activities also help in the socialization of the child. The teachers can provide information regarding history, geography, civics and economics with the help of these activities.
Advantages of Activity Curriculum:
Modern educationists give emphasis on activity principle of education. The advantages of activity-centered curriculum are as follows:
(i) Activity makes life dynamic. Education is preparation for dynamic life. So life is the byproduct of activities.
(ii) Education is the integral part of day-to-day life. If children can do something, it leads to happiness.
(iii) The school can provide knowledge not only introducing some subjects, but also through many life-related activities.
(iv) Kindergarten education and Montessori auto-instruction are based on activity curriculum.
(v) Kothari Commission (1964-66) introduced work-experience as an integral part of school education.
(vi) Activity curriculum helps to develop physical aspects of the child.
(vii) Children have natural urge to work.
Limitations of Activity Curriculum:
(i) Activity curriculum attaches too much importance on activities. It neglects other activities, which are needed for intellectual development of the child.
(ii) Personal supervision is needed for every activity which, not possible in school.
(iii) Activity curriculum is not applicable to all stages of education.
(iv) Abstract knowledge is neglected in activity curriculum.
Activity curriculum is essential for the development of self-efficiency among the child. But it is too much needed in early stages of education, not in higher level of learning.