KidZania Noida is an alternative to the real world. While adults, age-wise, run the world we live in, this amusement part for kids is administered by children.
The entire complex is designed like a city which one can access through an airport by collecting tickets in the form of boarding passes and wristwatches that are set according to the time and space of this Newfoundland.
There are cheques given to children along with boarding passes to be encashed in the KidZania currency from a bank inside the city. The currency can be used in two ways. One, for enjoying some rides and participating in activities; second, by learning a new skill viz. making a biscuit at a factory to dousing fire as part of firefighter brigade group or even contribute to the field of arts through pottery, dance, theatre, fashion runways, etc.
An alternative form of education is what describes best the idea behind the model of an interactive city that KidZania is. The establishment calls itself “an interactive city made for children 1-14 that combines inspiration, fun and learning through realistic role-play,” in “a scaled indoor city of over 7,000 square meters with more than 100 exciting careers that they can try.”
From learning to be a journalist to a car-driver, or a factory worker and a paramedic, the range of careers children can explore are dynamic. And the best part is, there is no pressure to conform to the ideal ‘doctor-engineer’ career trope. For a welcome change, parents are not allowed inside the activity zone where children play. The crew, staff, and technicians are the only adults who let children actively contribute by giving them basic guidelines.
The rules of society are similar to the one in which we live. There is a court of law, a city sheriff and even jails for crimes like running around the city and disrespecting pedestrians, etc.
All games that one played as a child is in live manifestation, a real-time video game of sorts in the city and children can play all of them without being told that ‘only men are firefighters’ or that ‘only women cook food’.
There are factories on the outskirts of the city, a pilot-training academy and a special zone for toddlers.
After a day’s hectic work and lifestyle, there is also a dance club to unwind.
In fact, this is one kind of a school-time that children don’t want to get over with. One can spot many asking time from adults and wishing the day would not get over.
Despite the fun and frolic, the reality stays that children are barely taught practical, real-life skills in schools everywhere. Hobbies are part of the curriculum, but there is again a choice and then, that too is limited to some privileged sectors of the society. While hands-on-learning and skill-development are part of regular curriculum abroad, it would be something to expand this kind of learning to everyday lives and schools that children go to in India. And, not to forget, given these opportunities and a variable space to explore a variety of work mediums, the pressure to conform to the ideal “career” graph of doctor-engineer-civil servants could become redundant.
When generations as a collective will challenge the hierarchy and the rules laid down by the set-patterns of reputability and class, there will be something fresh and new to begin…
Ticket prices vary on an hourly basis; starts at Rs 700+ for kids
Venue: KidZania Noida, near The Great India Place Mall, Sector 38, Noida, Uttar Pradesh