Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25 – Summer Kids Club – First Day

 In the last few weeks we’ve been busy preparing for a summer kids club. Curriculum, staff, material and registration have been occupying us – but we are happy to say that the hard work is starting to pay off. The first day ended with a lot of happiness.

Theater class
78 kids attend the summer camp ages 6-14. In their groups they sing dance play and also learn through experiencing new activities like painting their own portrait, making recycled sculptures, making a  theater show and being ‘journalists’ as they compose their own village newspaper. Each group is led by young people from the village who are responsible for the group activities.
The kids are happy and cooperative and we have been having a good time organizing this activity. 
Learning about the environment

Working with recycled bottles
Art Class

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24 – Planting Trees

We often get visitors at the school. Everybody comments on how beautiful and well kept it is and then after a few minutes they ask: “but it’s so hot! Why don’t you plant some trees?”
We end up explaining that trees depend on water and irrigation and that it requires a little more planning than it looks. The trees that were planted at the beginning of the year are doing great, and are a constant reminder that a job was not done.
In the last 3 weeks we bought some trees, and also received 2 very nice donations for additional trees. Our water system is working regularly, and we have some irrigation equipment. We planted all around the school fence and are planning to continue planting around the school yard. It’s a process, but – it has finally began!

Planting Trees

School vegetable garden has drip irrigation system

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21 – Waveplace Computer Program

We’ve been looking into various computer programs for a few months. We wanted a program that had a curriculum we can follow and not one that just provides computers. The Waveplace program was a good fit – it gives children access to computers, uses computers in a non-orthodox way (basically focusing on programming and not computer literacy) and encourages imagination and problem solving. In the past 6 weeks we interviewed mentors for this program. We found some energetic, smart, young people in the village to become the program mentors . Our mentors went through the waveplace training session, and after that spent an extra 2 weeks with us preparing lessons, discussing methodologies and coming up with a plan.

Mentor Training
Our Mentors preparing for class
We launched the program a week ago and its going great. The kids show up excited, the mentors are well prepared and the learning is done in a fun way leaving everyone thirsty for more.
At the end of next week we’re starting self-work with each student writing, drawing and animating his own story, we cant wait to see what the kids come up with!

Each kid has his own laptop for the duration of the course
One mentor leads the class
The mentors help our when needed
Most of the time - the kids work on their own

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7 - End of school year

Today was the last day of exams for the first school year of Ecole Nouvelle Zoranje. It’s a good time to summarize – but we have no time. Our summer activities are starting next week. There are no real structured activities for the village kids during the summer, so our school is becoming a center of activity during this period. Stay tuned for our summer reports….

School is Over!