We left the hotel this morning wearing our Yellow Dot T-shirts with pride!! We were going to put the Yellow Dot stamp on the nursery!! We acheived this tenfold.
As we enter the nursery gates, the children run towards us, wanting to hold our hands and touch our skin. Now they are familiar with us and can remember our names they have grown more confident. As individuals the children are polite, courteous and respectful. These characteristics are still apparent in the larger group, but all the children want it a bit of attention and to not miss out on opportunities. This is why we felt like the pied piper of Hamilin as they all follow us. They all race to see what you are doing getting so you get one big mass of children, today there were 38 children in the nursery, all wanting a piece of our attention. This makes it very difficult to manage the children, even more so for us because of the language barrier. We wanted to play a group game, but getting them to listen and play a game we found very challenging. We have to commend the teachers. There understanding of the children's background and needs make it easier for them to listen to instruction. One simple instruction such as 'get your chairs' made the children assemble into rows and get ready for our stories.
The resources each of the nurseries made went down well. We read the Gruffalo and Percy the Park Keeper, One Snowy night! There were conversations about snow, which these children had never experienced. They repeated new words to us in English and listened intently as we introduced them with the imagination and delight a story book can offer. They were entralled!!! We sung songs with the props, 5 speckled frogs, they all wanted to be the frog, but the teacher managed them well to ensure we got a selection of different children.
The children thoroughly enjoyed playing Cobbler, Cobbler mend my shoe, we played the game for about an hour. I don't think our children would maintain their concentration for this long!!! It was surprising how quickly the children grasped how to play this game. They waited patiently for their turn and were not disheartened when the game ended and they hadn't had a turn. You wonder how the children became so respectful and unselfish, you have to put it down to the hardship of their upbringing and how they are in it together.
We served them lunch, rice and beans, it was very tasty. Conversation does not flow much during the meal time. They all take a chair or perch outside and consume themselves in the only meal that many of them will have today. As we sit with them and share their food it becomes about making the most of what you have. This is something that we will definitely bring back to Yellow Dot!
The outside play area is simple, rocks, water and debris that the children have found around the ground. We notice children making pretty patterns and pictures with these natural materials, something that we do at Yellow Dot. When the children are playing, we notice that no adults are interacting or supervising, the children play cooperatively and together.The teachers sit about on their phones and listening to music, when we tell them about our policies relating to social media, phones and cameras they look at us stunned.
We had great fun with the teachers and children at the nursery today, we took them Yellow Dot t-shirts for both the teachers and the children, they eagarly try them on wanting to be part of the nursery that we have built up to them through our pictures and stories. They chimed out Yellow Dot, Yellow Dot, Yellow Dot!! We offer them a Yellow Dot balloon and they are all capable of blowing them up. We have many opportunities for photo taking. What strikes us is how they follow instructions and order. The teacher has many different techniques to organise them, they are aware of what class they are in and respond without fuss!!!
We returned to the hotel will 3 of the primary children in our tuc tuc! We have set them up with a blog so we can continue to see the difference we have made as well as the fantastic work the c4c charity have made. They have shared their heart wrenching stories of how the children became to be at the school. Please do take time to follow their blog, it will make you realise how much work their still is to do as well as how much of a difference has already been made: http://lifecentrejuniorschool.blogspot.com. We will be following Janet, Geofrey and Douglas's stories as they make their journey through the school and beyond to fulfil their life ambitions. Before they introduced to the school they couldn't have any dreams or aspirations as they couldn't see a way out! Education has given them a lifeline, their is much more work to be done at the school. This is only the beginning!