Hello friends! I´m writing this post from one of the two internet cafes Ive been able to find here in Leon. Sorry It´s been a while…the wifi in my house has been less than reliable recently—but that´s okay!!
I’ve continued my work at the preschool and am loving it! I have 15 little ¨chavalos¨(kiddies) in the class and each day we do a new activity or practice a certain skill set. One activity we did this week that I wanted to share with you guys was based on dreams. Profe Ana, the other teacher, started the class off by asking what everyone had dreamed of the night before. Now as you can imagine right after asking the question there was a brief moment of chaos where everyone began screaming what they had dreamed. After quieting them the kids took turns sharing their dreams. For the most part the responses were ´the ocean’ and ´a piñata´… not original at all…(maybe they were all invited to a birthday party at the beach? I guess I didn´t get the invite..). But then Profe Ana went on and asked them more about said ocean or the piñata.
What seemed like a simple question was really an exercise to have the kids learn to describe things, use their memory and make connections (okay, I may be over thinking this but I thought it was so cool because slowly each of the kids started to think outside the box and either recall—or make up—their dreams to have them be more of a story). What came next was drawing the dreams! We had each student draw what they had dreamt of or their family. Students would come up to me during this time and ask me what they should draw, or better yet, some asked me what I was drawing and if they could copy. I liked that they wanted my help, but what was sad was that some kids just sat their discouraged because they –and I quote-¨Can´t draw¨. What is that about?! Everyone can draw, it´s all a matter of imagination and just going with it! When a student told me that I looked at him in shock and bent over and told him, ¨Of course you can! You are so good at it! Just draw what you see in your head!¨ I don´t know how a preschooler got it in their head that they don´t have the ability to draw, but simply motivating the little fella to draw a house and the sun turned out to be a beautiful drawing of his house, flowers, a rainbow, and the little boy´s family.
For the next half hour the students worked on their masterpieces and I was briefly in charge of the class because Profe Ana had stepped out. She returned from lending her help out in another classroom and went around looking at the kids artwork and congratulated them but then told them to put their work away because I was going to share my artwork with the class. I had also drawn what I had dreamed of—which was Kerry and my most recent hike up Volcan Telica (amazing experience.. We hiked for an entire day to arrive by sunset then hiked back at night…in the dark…..) anyways, I stood in front of the class and asked them what they saw in my artwork: ie: asking ¨what is this¨ and ¨what color is this¨ and ¨what do you think the girl is doing¨ pointing to various objects. The kids loved the whole activity—from telling us about what they dream of, to drawing it out. I thought I´d take it another step forward, so I had all the kids pull out their artwork again, and then one by one I asked them to share their dreams-drawings with the class.
I had the chavalos walk up to the front of the class one by one so they could the present their art. It was absolutely adorable. So many of them became timid when told to face the class and explain what they had drawn. I helped out a little by asking them what certain objects were and on a few occasions I had certain kids whisper what their drawing was about in my ear so I could then announce what they had said to the class. By taking the activity another step forward the kids were given the opportunity to practice a whole new set of skills: communication, and public speaking. This is a HUGE deal in my eyes because the students are either 4 or 5 years old. Being able to stand up in front of a crowd is not easy and why not start making kids comfortable with it from an early age? Yes, I may sound crazy..or sappy, but I felt so proud of the kids for sharing, and proud of myself for taking the activity another step. It was so neat to see how little things like asking a follow up question or engaging a student can go a long way and change how a student sees something. Very cool.
Besos to all you chavalos who are still reading the blog
Victoria Meskers (Profe Beeky)