The days are flying by and we have now had two days in the escuela.
I first found it strange that it is only open from 7:30 til 12:30, but the weather makes you quite tired and the need to make preparations for each day makes me quite grateful for the shorter opening hours.
The first day we spent in IT classes for 6-8 year olds, which have just started and are conducted in a room that has been generously kitted out by Telefonica with 16 computers. However, they are currently only being used to point out what a monitor/keyboard is etc and are not actually being switched on. Each part of the computer is pointed out repeatedly and the children easily become bored and distracted. At one point the children were able to hold the mouse, press the buttons and hear the clicking noise it makes, and they were so fascinated by this that I would like to take this interactive element further. Maybe I can witness some classes for older children next week and see what work is done there – they do have some good quality textbooks to support them, so I hope we can work on this while we are here.
Today Marketa and I took an English class. With a few notes from the teacher about progress to date we went over the numbers 1-12 and the family with some success. However when it came to letters the children had great difficulty in remembering beyond the letter F, and coupled with my inability to write the phonic sounds in Spanish the class lost focus and soon I found myself at the back of the room with the children at the front showing us their much practised song and dance routines!
The remainder of the day was spent assisting in school elections, to elect a school president. Suddenly the badges and hats I had seen saying 'vota lista B' and 'lista C' made sense. Every child gets to vote, even the four year olds! The counting of votes is clearly a very exciting time, with the staff having to lock us and them in a room to count votes whilst the children grabbed on to the bars where the window should have been, trying to catch a glimpse of the number of votes for each party.
After a quick meeting with the school director, who amongst other things has organised a merengue lesson for us next week, we headed back to the hotel to discuss next weeks classes. The weekend will not be a day of rest -tomorrow we are going to the school while the dangerous slide gets fixed… Luckily we are in a position to pay the $200 bill for this, it's worth it to stop the kids getting hurt.
Erika is one of our Pronino volunteers and is blogging from Latin America. To find out more about Proniño, head to http://dnc.o2.co.uk/home/Pronino.