What do Itsy Bitsy Spider, an empty Coke bottle, pebbles, a Ritz cracker and Baby Shark (da do do do do do) have in common? They are all ways to teach adults about growth and development as well as help children reach growth and development milestones. Who would have guessed? Our RISE team would!!
Today the Barnabas House hosted a day-long workshop for kindergarten teachers from our communities. Also in attendance were our medical staff and our two star community leaders, Victor and Henry. Victor and Henry have been involved with our Early Childhood Development Program from the beginning. They continue to do simple age appropriate growth and development screenings on the children in their communities. They love to tell about their role in this program.
Today's workshop began with the fable Seven Blind Mice. The story illustrates how you have to look at things as a complete whole to understand what you are truly encountering. This is the exact way to look at a child's development.
Presenters then discussed cognitive, fine and gross motor skills, language development, emotional and social development and feeding milestones. There was a sharing of ways to encourage and promote healthy growth and development in each category. We practiced activities in each area. We sang, we learned about tongue exercises, we touched our heads and reached for our toes.
When you are focused on the health and well-being of the next generations, things take on a new importance. Honduran teachers, much like US teachers, have many challenges to deal with. Children come to school at all stages of maturity and preparedness. It is the teacher that needs to be able to figure out where each child is developmentally, and adjust their activities accordingly. Not an easy job by any means.
Parent involvement is essential, but not always a reality. One of the areas that the Early Childhood Development Program is focusing on is parent education. Today gave us a bag full of new tools to use. It is what partnership is all about.