Blog today is written by Karen Wiggins.
We had several people come to my Montessori teaching seminar from Mwanza representing two different schools. Finding out that one did not really have a school but was renting a school and children to pretend she had a school, it was easy to give the box of instructional materials to the other teachers that came from Mwanza and that we trained. Shabon and I headed to Mwanza and had the box of supplies in the car and got off the main road near Mwanza and wound around between the large rocks, up the hill over worn out roads to stop at a brick building with no roof. My heart stopped. I said to Shabon, “We can't leave this box in a school with no roof.” The head teacher explained that he lived in the small house next door and could keep the box in his house. When I got out, they explained that the parents to whom I was to talk were across a holler ( I am from Arkansas) but I knew this old lady was not going to head down and up to the church on the other hill. They got the message for the parents and children to come to me…and they did. I opened the box and started explaining how the children would learn with the supplies. I explained how the teacher would show who was the leader today. She would say, " Line leader today…world leader tomorrow” and would let them wear the bracelet to show that they were the leader. The ring of cards helps the teacher know who is the leader each day. The leader chooses a crew to clean the school and will be the first one to enter the school. Showing all the supplies was received very well. Parents, kids, and even grandparents loved the idea of a fun, active school for this place. When I asked the teachers what they did when it rained, one said, "We don't have school." I thought to myself, “Now that is some rainy day schedule." The school is very small and would not cost too much to put a roof on it. My mind is working. They have a well and I promised to bring them a water filter. We need one at each school so the children will be healthy. In each box is a “tippy tap” for the kids to wash their hands. This is just what Maria Montessori taught, too.
After the demonstration to the parents, one Babu (Grandfather) said, "This is all nice, but we can not buy that stuff." When I told them that this belonged to this school, I thought they were all going to cry. We all began to ululate which is a high pitched cry that the women do here. I joined in and am proud to say, I can do it quite well, if I say so myself. They told me that this is just one of their 4 preschools in this neighborhood. One lady said she will start making the things for each other school to have a box later. She was going to start tomorrow. I do so love the PreSchool in a box idea. Now we have 9 schools. Isn’t God good? All the time?