Although this summer was difficult in many aspects, it was also extremely rewarding. I wish I could do it all over again – only better. Heh. One of my favorite parts was getting to know our kindergartners on a deeper level and already seeing some learning progress.
It was fun watching the kids recognize various sounds in English even though they don’t yet know the meaning of the words. One afternoon, a young lady from a visiting team read One Fish, Two Fish to the kids. She reached the section about Yinks who like to wink and drink pink ink. Listening to those rhyming words triggered a soft tittering in a few children until a contagious laughter overtook the entire group. I couldn’t stop giggling either – those sweet little faces had no idea how nonsensical Dr. Seuss’s words really were, yet they still found joy in hearing the funny sounds.
I loved spending some precious time with Anllelo before school. (This sweet little man recently lost his mother and is now living with an aunt.) Anllelo would sometimes come to watch the Freedom team set up the classroom. A couple of mornings, I told him to stay with us instead of shooing him out with the other kids. He loved “helping” put the name tags out on the desks. “Angela! This is Rosa’s name, right?” “No, buddy, that says ‘Estefani’ – let’s find a tag that starts with the letter R.” I felt like I spent most of my prep time walking through those silly name tags with him instead of preparing for the day. But what sweet moments. He’s so hungry for some attention and love.
Another surprising experience came when Bergica (right), our little ball of energy, stopped all wiggling as we discussed the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. She pointed up at the Roman soldiers nailing Jesus’ feet to the cross and angrily said, “Those men are bad!” We were able to talk about how Jesus willingly laid down his life for the sins of the world.
I loved seeing these sweet moments in the classroom this summer. There has been much progress. And much more growth remains. Gotta remember, it’s all part of the process.