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Apr 17, 2019

Our Families!

In our programme we are very focused in the teaching of our pre-school children, but we are very much interested in the wellbeing of all the family, and owing to this, during the year we regularly meet with all the families of our children. In these meetings we share, guide and teach the families, covering themes such as: the importance of good nutrition for the family, reading in the home for the youngest children, personal hygiene (daily washing, washing hands, brushing teeth etc.), communication and feelings, breastfeeding, family values, as well as other relevant and important issues regarding the family. This is all planned with the families of our children in the programme. Those that are always present are the mothers of the families and at times the fathers too, however the fathers have to work in the fields from early in the day until the night and consequently they more often than not do not attend our meetings. We know that a lot of our mothers have had their children and therefore a family from an early age, and unfortunately are not aware and do not understand these themes that we cover. Therefore, it is valuable for us that the mothers spend time with us learning about issues that our programme offers to them and they can put what they learn into practice within their own home. The aim of this is to support them with their daily lives and to benefit the wellbeing of all the family.

This year we have more than 150 families with us! We hope that each theme is beneficial and put into practice in the homes of our Guatemalan families! We also hope that we can support the families so they experience an improvement to their quality of life, and that each day is better for their health and education!

Our best wishes to everyone!

Aula Mágica!

Mar 13, 2019

ARE YOU THE NEXT PRESIDENT?

February 24, 2019 marked an important turn in Senegal politics and history. After three weeks of campaign, the Senegalese had to go to the polls to elect their new president. For this presidential election, there were five candidates.

Despite the general enthusiasm and excitement, many Senegalese, regardless of the age and sometimes level of education do not know the power they have as citizens in such stake. Many Senegalese do not vote while they always complain about the system in place. Conscious of the issue, we have decided to teach to the kids of the centre what elections are and why they are important in a country’s cycle. 

President of the Children …

After real elections in Senegal, we decided to organize fake elections, reproducing the complete process including the campaign part. We selected 5 children to run for elections; 3 from the Darou neighborhood and 2 among the talibe children. The 5 candidates were allowed to campaign to gain the trust and vote of the other young boys. They presented their programs which were almost all about improving living conditions of children.

It was such an exciting experience for them. 

For the actual day of voting we had all the material in place and also the staff. We constituted a panel of children to organize the process and later on count the votes and give results.

One one hand, the first phase of this process was to teach to the children candidates how to prepare compelling speeches to grab the attention of the audience and above all convince the majority. The children learnt how to organize their thoughts and how to speak in public. Being the only one speaking in the room was a real challenge for some of them. But as the campaign went on, they started to feel at ease.

On the other hand, another phase consisted in teaching the voters how to select a candidate. We addressed issues such as the importance to vote for someone’s ideas and program instead of choosing them because of the relationship that may exist between the voter and the candidate. For instance, one of the children thought he should vote for his friend even though he was not convinced by his program.

The overall aim of this exercise was also to teach them the actual process of voting. In previous elections in the country, there were many cases of electors who did not understand the voting process.  Recreating the scenario of the vote was a way to teach to these future responsible citizens the dos and donts.

Another major aim was to teach them what democracy is and why it is important to respect others views even when they differ from our own views. Some kids cannot understand that different points of view do not necessarily mean that they cannot get along. At first, the children found it difficult to pay attention or show respect to candidates that they do not support. After discussions, children finally accepted to listen to others and to respect their opinion and projects.

After the election, we asked kids to share their appreciation of the initiative and to tell us what they learnt. Their appreciation was heart-melting and very encouraging.

The President elected won with a score of over 60%. Thanks to our previous advise on the necessary mutual respect between leaders (candidates) and their supporters, no children expressed anger after the results. The children from Darou were happy to be able to tell their parents that they know how to vote. 

This experience made them all feel like real citizens with a voice that matters.

Our fake elections were the highlight of the month but we did continue our activities. A Japanese volunteer came to the centre and spent nice moments with the kids. She taught them how to make origamis. That was another great moment to learn and experience other cultures for the children. They were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the sessions with her. We encouraged them to teach that to other children that did not attend the sessions.

For the rest of the month, we will try to expand our zone of coverage and reach more talibe children for the care. 

Mar 8, 2019

About Astrid

Aula Mágica Coordinator Letter, Sololá, Guatemala:

 

Hello, I’m Astrid. I graduated from school in 2013, and in this year I recieved my title as teacher of interculural children. With God’s blessing Aula Mágica came into my life unexpectedly, without knowing that it would be the new beginning of a beautiful path and, above all, doing what I love most; sharing with kids! I love being a teacher. 

With the cirriculum of Aula Mágica, which is very innovative and creative, the doors to learning more are opened to me, and above all the ability to put teaching and learning into practice. During my first three years working as a teacher for Aula Mágica, I was able to get to know the expectations of the program and the obectives and goals to reach, to develop the enthusiam of the kids in their first scholastic year.

Everything was evolving, and I contributed ides for new eucational methods, materials to utilize, and above all a focus on the environment through recycling. The satisfaction remains seeing the kids accomplish their first year of school with honors, and in being a part of the positive changes in each one of the kids. 

 In the year of 2017, I was surprised and filled with joy to be given a new role as Department Coordinator of Sololá for Aula Mágica, an opportunity that allows me to further share my understanding with more teachers and facilitators, guiding them in what they need and giving them necessary support through direct visits to their classroom and regular phone calls. 

 As coordinator I have more responsabilities, such as: coordinating tours for our visitors who would like to get to know the program, training parents of the students in different family themes, encouraging them to be teachers at home and helping them to know that they are the first teachers of their children, teaching them how fine and gross motor skills funtion, personal hygiene, healthy eating and other themes. It’s very important that the parents know that they are sufficiently capable of teaching their kids from home both in education and in a good way of healthy living. 

 During these years I have acquired a lot of knowledge, and its impressive to see that parents of the family can see in their kids the understanding and artistic expression of them. Aula Mágica has allowed me to grow professionally and personally, all of which has motivated me to continue with my studies of pedagogy in the university. 

With cordial greetings to all,

Astrid

 
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