During the spring, Joy Meesens, a student in primary education, was on graduation internship in the project.
For this she already did several internships in Belgium, including in a freinet school, and concluded that the education system in Peru is very different. Unfortunately, the teaching methods in Peru are still far behind, just like the training for the teachers and the resources that are available. In many schools the teacher determines everything, students must only copy the subject matter from the board or from their book and the lessons are certainly not pupil-controlled or interactive. The children are shy, do not dare to express their feelings quickly and they often do not have communication skills. That is why it is good that there is room in the project to stimulate and practice these skills. Therefore, intern Joy set a corner for both the older children and the little ones to work on these skills and painted a beautiful tree against the wall. A tree grows just like the children do. In order to involve the children as much as possible in the process, each child could place his hand in the tree (the leaves) with their picture in it. In the trunk of the tree there are cards and with this we discuss the weather and which day it is. We also do a round every day where each child can say how he feels and we practice this on the basis of the 4 basic emotions. The little ones do this in Spanish, the big ones do this even in English!
Now that the children already know this activity a bit better, other fun topic are also being discussed with the older children: news, talents, a book, ‘I like it / do not like that …’ and ‘I have an idea’. A child can write his name behind each subject. It is then the intention that in the discussion round time is made to let a child speak about this. Often the children read a book in the project and in the discussion round they now have the opportunity to present their book they have read to the group. At I (don’t) like that …’ they tell us something they like or don’t like. In doing so, they learn to express their opinion, come up with solutions and resolve conflicts themselves or with the group. At ‘I have an idea’ they get the chance to propose something. A child said in the discussion round that he likes to draw mandalas and he would like to do a Friday activity around mandalas, we discussed this with the group and they also thought that was a nice idea. So, the tía’s went to work with the children around this idea on Friday during a fun creative activity. The discussion round has become a regular part of the afternoon and the children are very happy to bring all kinds of things to the group in this way and discuss them together. They are also so much more involved with the course of the activities. Thank you, Tía Joy, for the development of this wonderful project!