Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mariposa: Day 4

On day four of our trip to the Dominican Republic, our initial plan was to continue working on the road and only visit with the students for 2-3 hours. With permission from the local school in the poorer countryside, they were able to completely change their schedule to accommodate our desire to spend more time with the kids. After we had breakfast, we walked 3/4 of a mile to the nearest public school we visited on day 3. Not only do these kids have to walk long distances to school, most families not being educated themselves do not understand the importance of sending their children to school. It is common for children to skip classes or chose to stay home whenever they please. This is an extremely hard habit to break and is very common in the DR countryside.

Teaching numbers

As a team, we divided into three groups for the day. Each group created a completely unique set of lessons plans to allow the children to warm up to us while learning English at the same time. Each lesson was also directly connected to a game. Animals were introduced in English by looking at photos and drawing them, the parts of the body were taught by using a diagram as a visual example and playing bingo, and numbers 1-10 were taught by repetition and the game four corners. With each activity, the kids were actively engaged and eager to learn. Going into the classrooms for the first time, each member of our group seemed to be more nervous than the children. It was a relief to see that when any of the small groups entered the classroom, we were happy to see their faces light up with excitement. Although not one of us is fluent in Spanish, using our knowledge and body language we were able to explain the activities for a round of 7 classes ranging from grades 3-8, and for 5 hours! 

recess fun!

In a discussion at the end of the day, we were all surprised that even with a language barrier, each of us was able to form a bond with the students. Immediately after it was time to leave, all the kids would run up and cover our entire bodies with their arms wrapped against our waists. I found myself trapped and unable to move because I was so surrounded by children! It was heart warming to feel so highly appreciated and loved by the students. 

learning numbers through playing 'four corners"
enthusiastic kids playing "four corners"

It is unknown the impact we could have had on any one of the children in the school today, but we left feeling accomplished and with a better understanding of the world. We are very fortunate to be members of the New Hampton School community.          Chloe'17                                    

Bingo help

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