Friday, February 17, 2012

Love for learning....

Do you have a love for learning? Do you ever have to stop and investigate a plant or flower you've never seen before? Do you wonder how things work? How certain words came into use? I'm so glad that God created us with curiosity and a desire to know and understand His creation.

I didn't go to school to be a teacher and I don't think I would enjoy the hard work it takes to teach a classroom of children all day, for 10 months, year after year after year after year..... Just writing that sentence makes me tired. Yet, I LOVE teaching my own children at home. And I love to peak the curiosity of other small learners. I love to see their faces when they are investigating and discovering the world around them. I love it when their faces light up with recognition and understanding.

Learning colors in English

That is why I was so excited to start working in an after school tutoring program this week. I have talked about how hard it is to get kids in school and keep them there. They have so many obstacles - finances, a need to work and boredom. You see schools here in Guatemala are very different - they are not always kid-centered. Many time the teacher has only a high school education, but that might only be equivalent with a 8th or 9th grade education in the US. Can you imagine sending your 4th grader to school to be taught grammar, multiplication and earth science by a 9th grader??

I don't want to be too hard on the system, because in many ways they are making the best of an impossible situation. They are working hard, but their standards are quite different than ours. A couple months ago, we met Nancy. She is a Guatemalan who wants to provide low cost, practical education for local children. She wants them to learn basics, but she also wants them to learn valuable skills. Skills that will help them get jobs and provide for their families one day. She also wants them to know about Jesus. Anytime, we meet a Guatemalan who is passionate about serving their own people and serving Jesus, we start looking for a way to encourage and support the cause.

Lee, Parker & Anna Kate teaching math games.

We felt a desire to start an after-school program that would allow us to meet and serve the poorest of families living in this river community. When we met Nancy, we began to explore the idea of partnering with her small school. She had the facility, we had some skills and resources. A plan was beginning to form.

This week we launched an after-school program at the Centro Educativo Josue school. The first day we had about 15 curious little faces. We started with an English lesson on colors. Then we broke into small groups that worked on math games and reading skills. We ended with a simple Bible lesson and learning the books of the New Testament in Spanish ... with motions! So fun!

Listening to the Little Red Hen in Spanish with Ms. Cheryl!
They especially loved the animal sounds!

Of course, the biggest hit of the day - the iPad! The kids LOVED the iPad! An anonymous donor sent us an iPad for the school program. I wish you could see their faces when they play math races, draw glowing pictures or listen to stories. They are fascinated and curious. They are learning, the little synapses are firing like crazy, new connections are being made ... and the best part is they don't even know it. It's so fun to trick them into learning!

Used an app made for preschoolers to teach colors! 

Gotta run think of some more tricks for next week...

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