Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome back to the Guardería!

Today at the Guardería we celebrated the return of all of the students and the start of their new school year. As you may have read in previous posts, the Guardería is more than a place for the children to stay during the day in order to keep them off the streets. Additionally, the purpose of the Guardería is not only to provide assistance with school work. Volunteers also work to enhance the emotional well-being of the children of the Guardería. This week proved to be no different!

Upon arriving at the Guardería the volunteers happily welcomed all of the chicos. The youth of the Guardería are always excited to see our volunteers and gave us a warm welcome. After greeting all of the children, the volunteers separated los grandes (age 11-18) for a reflection activity. The goal of the volunteers was to enable the students to covertly express their fears and feelings about school. As we have discovered, students in this age range have trouble speaking openly about how they feel. One of our volunteers, who has a degree in psychology, developed an activity in which the students wrote a letter of advice to a student entering the grade they had just completed. In this letter, our students wrote about the fears they had at the beginning of the year, studying tips for the new student, and the new goals they have set for themselves based on their experiences in the grade they had just completed. We read some of the answers out loud to all of los grandes (anonymously, of course) to demonstrate that many of the students have similar fears and that expressing these fears in a healthy manner can be helpful for everyone to hear.

For los medianos (age 7,8-11), our volunteer created a similar experience suited to their age range. Five questions addressing students fears and excitement about school were written on a ball which was passed from student to student. Upon receiving the ball, the student had to answer the question closest to their hands. By making the activity a game, the students shared more openly than if they were asked questions directly.

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