I took a photo of the tree to the right a few months back in our local national park. There was something so striking about this tree, and I have often pondered about it since. There is certainly a lot of life in this tree, and it seems to just appear out of hard stone walls – ruins that have been left untouched.
You wouldn’t think the conditions are perfect for the tree, yet it is thriving and the roots just keep growing and reaching down.
These past two weeks we have conducted two lots of teacher trainings with 65 nursery (preschool) teachers. Currently – I’m exhausted, but it was well worth it! We thought many of our local schools were ready for the next big step: teaching them how to teach with children working in groups, using resources and being actively engaged in their lessons. Although we had taught all of these schools teaching methodology about early reading skills, most of it was still being taught from the chalkboard, the old ‘chalk and talk’ method. However, this was the first step. We are on a long, slow journey and it was important to improve the teaching of reading first, before we can then move into taking these teaching principles and then making them more active and engaging to learners. But – we are there!
And just like the tree in this photograph, our local classrooms are beginning to burst forth with life and energy!
Over three afternoons (over two weeks) we demonstrated how to use resources practically in the classroom, how to manage ‘stations’ and rotate children through using different resources and then dedicated an afternoon to making resources with local teachers. Clearly one afternoon for resource making wasn’t enough – we virtually had to kick them out of our training room before it got dark!
The last step in making resources with teachers is quite important, since resources here are scarce and oftenest unattainable. Making something is the only option. So out came the cardboard, paper, scissors and markers.
We have already started to follow up some of these teachers in their schools and it is so exciting to see children practically making letters with bottle tops and play dough and to see learning come to life! To see that tree start growing out of its hard brick foundation.
Below are some photos from the past two weeks: