So much work is being done at AMAP! I arrived a few weeks ago here in Bagamoyo, Tanzania to volunteer with the nursery school this April and May. The three local teachers (Swahili, English, and math) were immediately welcoming and open to new ideas. My first day at the school, I walked into a classroom and a loud chorus of “Hello madam! How are you?” greeted my ears. The kids are always enthusiastic and excited for new counting games or alphabet songs.
Earlier volunteers started working with the teachers on new classroom techniques, particularly influenced by the Montessori method – breaking up class to smaller numbers with more hands-on, experiential learning. We are in the process of making teaching tools, such as alphabet and number flashcards and more visual aids of the sorts. Small chalkboards have already been completed and are in use, children use those to draw and write as their own personal workbook. It is such a joy seeing a child learning to write his numbers, concentrating over his/her little personal chalkboard and always so focused and careful with his chalk!
I have spent my time at the school teaching art class a few days a week, and I love seeing the children’s creativity flourish at the class. We have been working on new ideas to encourage creativity and observation – experimenting with color, or drawing objects or even one other. Their faces light up when they proudly show me their finished picture. I am so excited to spend the next month with the children of AMAP!