So today was day 1 of the 2 day workshop I am giving the teachers from the 9 schools in Jitpur an area in the hills above Kathmandu valley. I had not seen the venue except to hear it was a big hall. I spent last night with the same wonderful family I stayed with before. Four of the girls I went to Chitwan with are also staying here so this morning they and another Chinese guy (volunteer) helped me carry all the material for the workshop to the school- about 3 kms I guess. The hall turned out to be a big classroom with the usual broken and dirty work surfaces with attached benches all strung out in front of a wide wooden podium with a lectern for the lecturer/teacher! Plus the usual dodgy whiteboard and cms of dust on everything!! So Bahar the Turkish volunteer and I got to work rearranging the space so that all the desks were next to the podium which opened up space at the back of the class. We swept and then put up newsprint on the back wall so I could capture what the teachers had to say in mind maps. Om arrived with long foam matting which we arranged in an L shape so the teachers could sit on it on the floor on cushions on these mats. I laid all the activites on low benches along the wall opposite the longer arm of the L shape . Anyway it was perfect!!! I had a low bench to present on while I sat on my camping stool. I had been told that the ECD trainer who had sold the teachers the Montessori materials (which I did not tecognise) was coming tomorrow to explain the materials to the teachers. Anyway he pitched up so immediately the schedule was changed- flexibility - one of the first ecological perspective principles!!
He proceeded to show the teachers tangrams and all sorts of different activities, every so often looking at me and saying Montessori... Tricky as maybe most could have passed for extensions but certainly not first presentations of concepts where only one concept is introduced at a time!!
Anyway finally it was my turn. I had decided to start with them brainstorming and feeding back to me 5 or. 6 challenges (problems) they have in their classes; followed by describe your dream school Ito children, parents, classroom.
It was a really good way to start as I simply noted what they had to say and will refer to the points as we go along. We then talked briefly about the practical life area, before launching into the presentations. It worked extraordinarily well with me drawing the Montessori principles and info about the sensitive periods from them as I did the presentations. We ended up with the teachers presenting to each other and doing really well for a great first day - no doubt all the years of not knowing what to expect at the learning project and Zama have paid off!! We finished on the dot of four which Om reckoned was not what normally happens as most times, the teachers have left by three!
So a highly successful first day which I thoroughly enjoyed. The women had not really grasped that they would be receiving the same set of resources! Interestingly one of the challenges given was dirty class rooms! I was able to jump straight in with the concept of role model!!
Anyway I then was given a ride home on the back of a motor bike with om's friend- an enormous relief gratefully accepted but hair raising all the same as he kept on taking one hand off the handle bars to point or wave at something- thats my uncle - wave and swerve: that's Kathmandu - point and swerve!!! Anyway I have been wanting to have a lift on a motor bike so can now tick that off the list!!
So thank you to all of you who gave so generously to the idea of setting up learning areas In Nepal. Here's hoping the teachers get the plot and are able to manage and maintain all these activities😀. Will try to post a photo of the teachers working with the materials. Whoops won't be able to as took the pics with my camera. Will take tomorrow with my cell phone 😃🐒