Thursday, 4 December 2014

Pre-School Volunteering Experience | Chintsa

My name is Tracy Rocero. I'm from Toronto, Canada and the reason why I wanted to volunteer at first was to make a difference in my life and change the life of others. That soon changed and made a huge impact on me when I first stepped into the the preschool in Chintsa.

When I first started out in the classroom I was very nervous but excited to know that I'd be doing something that I know how to do on a day to day basis (I am a teacher in Canada). Then, realizing I'm entering not just a classroom but a community - that was all new to me.

The preschool in Chinsta village has a unique program with an amazing mentor, a great community and of course the people of Chinsta. My mentors is named Phulma. She has many roles other then just a preschool teacher. She plays the role of being a school nurse, a gardener, a mother, a friend and the community super hero! I was pleased to be working with Phulma and Chwayita in the preschool but having to work with such the large numbers of children was bit of shock compared to your average preschool in Canada.

I don't think I've ever worked or met a person like Phulma. I find I don't have the words to describe how much of a big heart she has - words will not do her justice.  Her personality and drive showed me that we would need more people like her in the world. She has so much energy and a strong attitude about life, if we had more people like Phulma, we would get things done a lot quicker in this world.

Chintsa East preschool was the most cosy and simple school I've come across. It's has limited resources but somehow manages use certain, everyday items for classroom themes for the week. Even with limited resources there are creative interactions with the children and Phumla always manages to maintain a positive environment. This shows that the children are very happy and comfortable with Phulma. She shares her lovely singing voice and has strong relationships with children. It's amazing to also see the older children come in during break time to hang out or help in the preschool.

I took some time with Phumla during my time volunteering to teach her a couple of children's songs, art activities and group time games. The children also got to participate. She also taught me a couple of songs that I can implement in my program back home - it was great to share our skills. By the second week volunteering I actually got to run the classroom with Phulma coming in and out of the classroom to check on how things were going. It was definitely a learning curve for me and quite a challenge. I was lucky enough that we had a low number of children that day as when everyone is in class there are around 45 children!

My time volunteering flew by - I realized that two weeks is not enough! It definitely opened my eyes and showed me that there are so many possibilities to make a change in others lives and ways to enhance the Preschool program with your own experiences and passions. From the people who play a big role in the program on a long term, daily basis, to new volunteers like me, just shows you also meet new people that can change your perspective of life. I notice the small progress and relationships I made with the children who really wanted me to stay until the term ended. I was supposed to stay in Chintsa for two weeks. I ended up extending for one more week - just enough time to see the preschool term come to an end for 2014.

Anyone who would do the volunteer trip. Would love it. My recommendation would be that it's best to stay in Chinsta for a good solid month or longer.

There's something about this place that just makes you want to stay.

Myself, Phumla and fellow volunteer Kristin :)

Preschool Volunteer, 2014

1 comment:

  1. After reading it, I could make out that you enjoyed teaching in preschool. Even when I taught in a Phoenix kindergarten couple of years ago, I had same experience. You refreshed all of those memories in my mind.