Written on August 25, 2014 by Chrissy & Kurt
2014 has seen a constant trail of volunteers stopping by Dadagaun. Global Works from Colorado had a group of young adventurers work in the garden at the school earlier in the year. Two more American groups are planning trips in October. Trek of Your Life (www.thetrekofyourlife.com) is working hard to gather financial support to enable the local orphanage to pay school fees for its 40 or so children who attend the school. This will be invaluable assistance for the school’s financial independence and sustainability into the future for the infrastructure and programs now in place.
From Australia’s Gold Coast, Speech Pathologist Karyn and her teenage kids Georgia and Sam spent a fortnight in May volunteering at the school meeting up with American Speechie, Melanie. They did a wonderful job in the KG and Nursery classrooms, working with the teachers, demonstrating innovative ways to teach and play, broadening their concepts of literacy development and delivering $800 of early childhood readers kindly funded by the Rotary Club of Coomera. They also took donations of simple English books for the Library from various Gold Coast schools.
These they helped the teachers to grade into levels of difficulty according to a colour coding classification system, GROWBY, used by Room to Read in Nepal. Using local methods, we have found, always increases the success of integrating new ideas. Georgia taught recorder tirelessly in Classes 4 and 5 and Sam shadowed teacher Ajay helping with Health and Phys ED, Computer and Creative classes – a wonderful bond was formed. Karyn also worked alongside the English teacher who is always keen to expand his knowledge of effective teaching strategies. They all accompanied the school on its first swimming excursion, hiking for two hours each way to a College pool in Budhanilkantha where an American charity introduced basic water skills. For many of the children it was their first time being immersed in water and Karyn and Melanie shouted all in need a new pair of swimmers. Long hours were put in at the school each day then visits to the orphanage and village families in the afternoons to broaden their experiences and friendships and soak up the village lifestyle even more.
Karyn took many craft materials and teaching resources with her for the school and Melanie raised funds to buy a projector – a real step into the future to facilitate A/V teaching. Teachers can now take a laptop into the classrooms and project files or pages from the internet for the whole class to see.
Another Aussie Debbi, along with husband Bruce, spent a week at the school in June. Deb’s insights as a Guidance Officer came to the fore being there when the school was grieving the recent loss of a new Year Seven boy to heart complications. A difficult and sombre time for all.
Debbi spent many hours with the Nursery, Kg and English teachers sharing ideas and approaches to teaching and classroom management. Bruce always found something to do – computers, room cleaning, yard maintenance – a good all-rounder. They were at the school when co-ordinators from the Early Childhood Education Centre in Kathmandu came to visit for post training workshops, meetings with the School Management Committee and with the village parents and guardians. Deb came up with a great notion for ECEC to consider…changing the name of their approach from “the Play Way” method to “Discovery Learning” – a concept much more appealing to the villagers who still can’t quite accept play as being educational. Deb and Bruce also organised delivery of 300 beautifully illustrated story books written in Nepalese donated by Room to Read, Nepal – a fantastic contribution we had worked hard with the Principal to secure. This pair packed so much in to their short time in Dadagaun. And like many a western teacher, Deb vows to return for longer.
More teacher volunteers from Brisbane are heading over in September: Paul who will be on his third visit and Sarah who is returning for the second time. With them will be Jayne and Jo – a formidable team of teaching talent! Their goals include introducing strategies for support teaching, exam preparation, timetabling, helping with curriculum development (including building continuity from KG to Year One) and further developing the computer education, literacy and HPE programs. Curtain making to reduce glare in the computer room is on the cards as well. We are also keen for them to help the teachers explore and get the most out of their existing educational resources (an overwhelming amount has been donated in the past few years we are putting the brakes on accepting more!) Just a few small challenges ahead!! Plus…. thanks to further fundraising efforts of Coomera Rotary Club and a generous donor from Melbourne, floor coverings should be able to be purchased at the beginning of September. Carpet with underlay laid professionally in the KG and Nursery rooms and vinyl for the other rooms. Paul, Sarah, Jayne and Jo will help with the laying of the vinyl when the school closes for Dashain at the end of the month. Think it will be a hoot!If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to our feed