Today was another scourching day reaching tempertures of 35 degrees!
We arrived at the school and went to the office to meet the Head Master of High School, acting Head Master of Primary and Head Mistress of Nursery – who we will be working closely with over the next few weeks.
We then went to each class who welcomed us with a song and we had to introduce ourselves to them. Some of the older classes thought our accent was very funny and enjoyed laughing at the teachers mocking our accent, which put us at ease and made the welcome more enjoyable, with lots of laughter. By the time we had visited each of the classes it was lunch time. The younger children get their lunch first. We watched how the older children take care of the younger children, ensuring they are getting their lunch, sitting down and eating, you can clearly see how they all care for each other.
After lunch the children have a play time which consists of entertaining themselves using the outdoor environment. We joined with their circle games which again is dancing!! So again lots of laughter coming from the children when they called us up to stand in the middle of the circle and dance, hopefully as time goes by we will be pro’s by the end of three weeks.
The Day Care, which is the same as our nursery, is a iron shack with beds, mattresses and tables. Not many toys, if any, for the children to play with. The Day Care has 27 registered children in the same iron shack, they range from 1 years old up to 4 years of age with a ratio of 1:15. WOW!!! what a difference to the UK guidelines. They had all 27 children in today which meant the shack became very warm very quickly. There were come children who were a little unsettled as they haven’t been there very long or it is their first time of seeing a white person.
They have lunch in their classroom. We sat with them and tried to communicate but we didn’t get much response due to the lack of English understanding. Through their years at the Life Centre School their English will improve as it is an English speaking school and Swahili is taught as a subject as they get older, but Swahili is their first language at home. So all the classes and exams are done in English. The portion sizes are good size for all ages, and always contain carbohydrates as this is the only meal for most of the children.
We were privileged enough to be offered lunch which was rice, cabbage and potatoes, to our surprise it was very flavoursome and we thoroughly enjoyed it. They have a different meal every day throughout the week, so we are looking forward to seeing what is on the menu tomorrow!
Before home time the children gathered around and joined in with some singing and circle games. The children are very sociable, happy and confident, they demonstrate a lot of respect not only for their teachers but for us as well. Every time we moved their was a chair waiting for us to sit on, which we were not used to as in our environment back home we are on the floor with the children engaging with them at all times.
Tomorrow we have planned to arrive at school early where the timetable is busier and we can see more of the Early Years curriculum and lessons in practice as we find after lunch they sleep for two hours or free play and go home.