Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Therapy Tuesday: Let's Go Together

First there was this picture.  It's pretty adorable, isn't it?

Yes, Lydia and Lukas holding hands in the therapy room.

Then there were more pictures, even more adorable (if that is possible).  In the picture above, Lukas is leading Lydia on towards the therapy room, while she wants to slow down to greet the folks in the baby room!

It turns out that Lydia and Lukas always go to their therapy sessions together now, because they are both in preschool when it is time for them to go upstairs for therapy.

It's so much nicer to have someone to hold hands and walk with - Lydia and Lukas certainly think so!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

NDNorth: New Games

When Luke first entered our project, he was not putting any weight on his legs at all.

When Timothy began being cared for by our nannies, he couldn't lift his head up more than an inch or two.

When Hannah joined the Nanny Project she had no interest in interacting with other children.

Wow! What transformations!

We were working with the nannies last week and helping them come up with games for the children to play, and one of the activities that we came up with was rolling the red ball back and forth. By propping Timothy and Hannah up on their blankets on the sofa, all five children were able to participate. Roll gently, Philip, Timothy and Hannah are still babies!

Watching Luke catch on to new games is so much fun! And seeing Hannah and Timothy interact with others and do their best to participate is so adorable.

The little ones in our project are each different. They were abandoned at different times, have different genetics and needs and stories... but today they're a family.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

NDSouth: Fun with Blocks

Preschool is the place where a lot of fun educational activities happen. One of the children's favorite activities is to play with blocks.
Sometimes we build tall towers...

Isn't that right, Ada?

Other times we build choo-choo trains that can chug along the table.

Of course, Hayden likes to try to build the longest one!

One of Amy's favorite games with the blocks is when we sort the shapes.

Chris likes to sort the shapes, too. Don't you love how focused he is?

Don't worry, Chris! You're doing a great job sorting.

Yet no matter what we do with the blocks, there comes a time when it is time...

...to put them all away!

Of course, cleaning up can be an educational fun activity too.

As a  class, everyone loves to take turns while putting the blocks away!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Backyard School: More Than School

Margaret, one of our wonderful Summer Staff volunteers, has written a guest post about her experience teaching the girls in our Backyard School.

Walking into the Backyard School, you’ll find a classroom, a small table, three small chairs on each side, and a teacher chair in the front.  There’s also a big bookshelf and cabinets filled with resources, as well as an in-tune piano!  The Backyard School is like a kindergarten – for the preschool graduates, but with a current class size of three students: Zoe, Cora Jo, and Lucy. They are all at their own different developmental level, and all come in with their own unique smile every day.

One of the things I loved about being at New Day was teaching in the Backyard School. It has truly been a pleasure, discovering these kids who are ready and willing to learn.  I am a college student still learning about early childhood education, and through teaching the Backyard School, I’ve decided that teaching is definitely what I want to pursue.  Sure, there are hard times, but hardships exist in every profession.  Sometimes when the kids act up, you have to laugh.  One example is that Cora Jo has this way of shaking her head and saying “bu yao” (don’t want) to just about everything when she throws a fit.  “One minute till clean-up, then we go to the bathroom and then eat snack, okay?”.  “Bu yao!”

What’s a typical day in the Backyard School?  I walk in, and Lucy welcomes me in with a smile.  At around 9:00, Cora Jo and Zoe run in with hugs and laughs.  After a bit of playing and settling in, we have an introduction time, introducing ourselves, counting the class, deciding what day of the week it is, what the weather is like today, etc.  Then, we’ll have a worksheet, followed by a group activity, usually some kind of craft.  At 9:50, we take a bathroom break, followed by a snack time.  After snack, we have another group activity, usually music or story time.  We also do some kind of activity that follows up on what we learned before snack.  At 10:45, we go outside for recess.  Once Zoe’s foster mom comes to pick her up at around 11:15, class is dismissed.

The routine is generally the same every day,  and these kids never fail to put a smile on my face, every day.  Sometimes I’ll come in, tired and worn out from life in general.  I find, every time, the best remedy for whatever is going on is the joy these girls give me.   I find energy and happiness through Lucy’s smile, Cora Jo’s hand in mine, and Zoe’s excitement for life.  Cora Jo has this laugh that discovers joy for you.  Zoe has this tenderness and compassion that cares for others, insisting, the Chinese way, to do things for others.  When Lucy gets praise for doing well, her entire face lights up in the most wonderful way.

In any school, students learn much more than just academic subjects.  Often, it is the same every day, a routine that is sometimes mundane.  Through teaching the Backyard School, I have found that teaching is much more than just a routine; it is joy.

Thank you, Margaret, for your hard work and enthusiasm.  Do come back next summer...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NDNorth: Giggles

Good morning, Timothy - feeling a bit gloomy? How about some tickles...

All better!