|Nurse Jamilyn - what a cutie!|
Our preschool children are learning many of the same things as their counterparts from around the world - simple numbers, letters, learning through play, how to get along with others and the rules of being in a classroom.
In Belize, few children attend preschool. Often this is because the local preschools are very expensive - one local preschool is charging $25 Belize ($12.50 US) a week per child at preschool - a huge burden when you consider the average wage is $40 BZ per day and families commonly have 5 children. Also, particularly at our school where we focus on providing education for the most disadvantaged children, few have had parents who have had the skill, resources or time to teach their children any of the basic skills and knowledge many western schools take for granted.
Mrs Jamira, the preschool teacher, who previously taught our Infant 1 class (equivalent to K in the US system), had a lot to say about the advantages our preschool is giving our children. In previous years she says it's been common to have many children who arrive at school very unprepared. Many don't have the simple skills you might expect - how to hold a pencil, count to 5, spell their name or know their age, write any letters or even know the names of shapes. With 1 teacher to 25 or more children, it's really tough to fill these gaps in learning while also keeping up with the curriculum. But now, with our preschool, we have a whole class of children who are already learning these skills, who can be role models and helpers to their peers.
Now for the cute pictures! March was child stimulation month and all the preschools had a chance to break out and learn beyond the classroom. Our kids had a ball. Here's a few highlights:
|Culture Day, where all the children came dressed as one of the cultures found in Belize.|
|Community day: All the kids came dressed as a community worker, then spent the day meeting real community workers and learning about their jobs.|
|Three legged races in the park|
|Family Craft day was a hit|