“Train a child in the way he should go. When he is old, he will not turn away from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
Our first week of classes came to an end on Friday. Sairy and I met with the mothers in the morning just after drop off. They have all been wonderful in supporting the school. It is a learning process for everyone. The kids are slowly adjusting. I think, just like in the States, the moms are having a harder time being away from the kids for the 3 hours than the kids are. Within 10 minutes of the mothers dropping the children off, we heard singing and laughing and absolutely no crying.
The kids are loving it! They are excited to get to color, cut, glue, read books, etc. Most of them have never done any of it. As we arrive in the community, they all come out of their houses and wave yelling “professora” (what they call the teacher).
In week two of classes, we enforced the need for the parents to arrive on time, to bring a snack, and introduced a discipline system. Drawing from my years of afterschool ministry, I cut posterboard into cards to make the first ever light system in the DR (at least that I know of). The children all start on blue light and if the child breaks a classroom rule, they have to change their “light.” From blue, to green, to yellow, to red. The parents learned about the system on Friday in the meeting and were asked to make it significant in their home to reinforce the good behavior in the classroom. On Monday, the children were given their stickers for what color they were on at the end of the day and all of the parents were eager to hear about their child’s behavior. For many of the children, this is some of the first discipline they have received away from their parent’s.
Week two of classes brought learning the color green and the number 1!!! With 3 and 4 year olds all at different levels, our amazing teacher provided different levels of learning. The kids seem to love anything that they get to sit at the table and do. They love play dough…especially making bracelets (surprisingly the boys not the girls). Every morning the kids start the day by raising the flag and singing the national anthem then they head inside for circle time to find out what they will be learning about for the day. Whenever they are told to go sit at the table, they have all learned something exciting is in store.
Kendy, our teacher, is doing an amazing job not just teaching but loving on the kids. Yesterday Brown Bear, Brown Bear brought excitement as the kids shouted out the animals and learned their colors. This week we also brought Daisy on board as an assistant. She has always been amazing at helping us in vacation bible schools and anytime we need anything in the community. She knows every child and their family and is able to give us some extra insight and help from the Cuesta Arena point of view. In return for her help, the program will be helping her to invest in her education. Transportation is the most expensive part for those that want to leave a community so we will be helping her reach her dreams.
At the meeting last week, the parents agreed to get together once a month, rent a van, and bring all the children and the families into the church for worship. Sunday, September 30 will be the first Sunday and we are excited. So many members of the church have prayed for the community, cried for the community, and served in the community. It will be exciting for them to come and celebrate together on Sunday in Santiago.
Lastly, we have finally started the child sponsorship program. We have 20 children up for sponsorship. The sponsorship is $30 a month or one time of $360 for the year. Sponsorship includes writing correspondence, pictures, and as always, an open invitation to come meet your child. Since I am living here full time and one person, you have the luxury of knowing the child, their family, their home, their world. Pictures of the individual children with their names is listed on the website. Once you decide on a child, send me an email (see tab for “Contact Us” and I will be able to email you information on your child, pictures, and information on the area. You can immediately write a letter and mail it with pictures and information about yourself and your family. You will also be able to see pictures of your child on the website and be able to recognize them. Some children are sibling sets. If you are interested in two please let me know and I can point them out to you. Thank you so much to everyone for their continued prayers and support.