Back to school! The time of year is full of excitement, new beginnings, and probably a bit of trepidation. A range of emotions were on display on the first day of school at the San Antonio Preschool Nutrition Center. Many students were happily chattering away and building block towers, faces smeared with spaghetti from their mid day meal. However, some of the first year students were having a harder time.
It’s their first day away from home,” explained Señora Lety, the second year teacher. “It is always like this the first few days.” She was holding the hands of two tearful little ones that had wandered over from the first year classroom.
Without proper walls between the classrooms, entrance, and kitchen, this sort of interruption is a common occurrence.
The noise and distraction makes teaching the other preschoolers nearly impossible. Still, Señora Lety and Señora Griscelda, the first year teacher, calmly persevere. They will fill the days with lesson plans aimed at preparing students for kindergarten and improving their spanish skills.
“When they first come to school some only speak Kaqchikel. We speak to them in Kaqchikel for the first month while they get used to [school], and then we only speak Spanish,” explained Señora Lety.
The cook, Sylvia, also had children underfoot in the kitchen as she washed the dishes from the students snack. At the preschool, the students get a healthy meal and a snack daily, and are regularly weighed and measured as a part of the nutrition program.
“Today the children already had their meal: spaghetti. Tomorrow they will eat pepian (traditional Guatemalan sauce) with chicken,” explained Sylvia, the cook.
We are waiting for the final funds to be able to complete construction of the second level. Then, our first year students can move upstairs into proper classrooms and have all the space they need for a full year of learning and growing.