|Nokuphumla--our grade R teacher|
When you walk into the preschool at Chintsa East you will be greeted with a warm hug from Nokuphumla and a classroom full of smiles. Nokuphumla is full of energy and always has time for a child that is upset. She is a dedicated teacher and a second mother to the thirty five children who are in Grade R (Grade Reception). Nokuphumla has really made the Grade R classroom a special place. Volunteer Africa and individuals from the community have also put a lot of work and time in over the years to create an amazing Grade R classroom. There is plenty of space for the kids to read, play and do all kinds of activities! Outside we have awesome playgrounds that have been built by International Student Volunteers for the kids to play on during break.
Numeracy and literacy are at the top of our agenda right now. Many of the older students in Chintsa East School don’t know how to read or write, so we hope that we are giving these kids a good head start. Progress can be slow; attendance is a big problem. Sometimes on rainy days we have less than a quarter of our class! In addition to learning our numbers and alphabet, we do lots of singing, games, baking activities, arts and crafts and outdoor play. The kids at Chintsa are incredibly lively and tons of fun... they especially love spending time with volunteers!
|Julie making friends with the giraffe|
The children at Bulugha are the most polite and well behaved bunch of 4-7 yr olds you will ever meet...thank goodness because our classroom is only nine feet by nine feet! There are 30 students, Mpumi (the local teacher), me and the volunteers all squashed into one tiny, dirty, room. Despite the crowded conditions, we manage to have a lot of fun. The kids at Bulugha love outdoor play. The school is right next to a game reserve so we sometimes have giraffes who want to come play too! If you guys have any ideas for outdoor play, let me know...we’re always looking for some new games or outdoor activities to try. Another favourite activity is computers. We’ve learnt how to hold a mouse and click (it’s really not so easy!). We do computers once a week and it is always something to look forward to. Their ultimate favourite activity is baking. We decorate cookies, make fruit skewers and even make race cars out of biscuits— all with the help of Rose Clark, who donates baking supplies. One student told me that he was never going to miss school again, just in case he might miss out on a baking day!
|Mpumi and me teaching in our small clasroom|
The volunteers and I have been working in cramped quarters for a long time now. Volunteer Julie and I have done a lot of work recently on trying to improve the conditions for Bulugha Preschool. Joined to our tiny classroom is a disgusting store room...it is piled to the ceiling with all sorts of things like: microwaves, bed frames, tools, notebooks, watering cans, sports equipment and rubbish. We proposed to the school that we clean out the storage room and expand our Grade R classroom so we can have space to interact with each other and do all the activities a Grade R student should be doing. The school rose to the challenge, and this morning we had thirty older students, teachers, and the principal helping us to clear out the storage room. We even sorted out all the plastic, paper, and cardboard so we can dispose of them in a waste centre (a lot of rubbish is burnt on the property which is not good for little lungs!). I am so happy we are finally starting on this project; I’m hoping I won’t have to see a cockroach for a long time...Wow there were a lot of cockroaches in that room!!! Volunteer Julie didn’t like them very much :(
We’ve made a good start, but we still have a long way to go before we have a beautiful preschool. I’ll keep you guys posted!
|The great clean up!!!|