After a short New Year’s break in the first week of January the Centro Educativo Yurac Yaccu started into the year 2011 with a holiday program for the local kids.
Children in Peru have two months of holidays in January and February, which can be a long time with little intellectual activities, especially here in the rural area. In the last two months I could see a lot of children herding animals and some girls told me, that they help and learn by that from their mothers during the holidays. The main occupation is to participate and support the daily life and work in their families. But without practice and support, without contact to books and numbers, children between 6 and 12 years, who attend primary school can forget a lot, in terms of reading, writing or maths during two months of holidays.
So, we offered for the holiday time in the afternoons reading and writing as well as maths lessons for primary kids and English lessons for children who attend secondary school. The idea was to connect studying with creativity and fun. According to that there were a variety of educational games played, innovative materials used and lot of active participation requested from the children.
First just a few kids started coming to the classes, but after the first two weeks the number of children began to increase, so that we had more than 30 children in the afternoon and until 15 in the early childhood program, which takes place in the morning. Fortunately two young women from the area showed interest in helping with the afternoon classes and became assistant “teachers”, which was a gain to everybody. It was not easy to come up to all the different levels of abilities , but still we were able to give a possibility to practice and strengthen the skills of those kids, who attended the classes regularly. And there are already news of success reaching us: one little girl has passed the grading test in her school and can attend the next grade now, because her reading skills have improved. Now we hope, that news like these will spread and children as well as parents will more and more realize, that studying and education can be fun, but also brings improvements.
For the afternoon classes we have to wait and observe now, what the attendance will be like after public schools have started again. In the early childhood program we already could develop a stable group of eight children. A parents meeting is the next step to organize a parents association, which is necessary to arrange different activities, like health days, and built up a formal and more binding base for this group. Some mothers yet came up with the idea to cook for and with the kids. Through more personally involved parents, we also hope to attract other families to send their children.