It finished the first year of Kindergarten at Delta Cultura. A school year full of emotions, sharing, affection, friendship, creativity, spontaneity and a giant mutual learning. Opened in September 2016, we have received 33 4-year-old children from families with some economic difficulties in the city of Tarrafal. For the first time, these children had an opportunity in their hands that allowed them to grow: the first contact with a Kindergarten, a place of constant learning and daily living with the same children and adults. We’re all the same here. Educators and children, in all, we all have feelings, opinions, emotions, good and bad days. All together we have formed our personality, we have learned and grown.
In addition to general aspects such as colors, numbers, vowels, days of the week, geometric shapes; several themes and monthly contents were suggested by the Ministry of Education as clothing, food, professions, transport and media, animals and plants. To introduce these themes, we tried to put into practice various dynamics, tell stories, games, real situations or that relate directly to children’s daily life, watching videos, in order to facilitate the acquisition of content. The activities were organized based on the proposed themes but, at the same time, in a flexible way, according to the children’s feedback.
We also provided children with a basis for their intimate hygiene habits and, as on April, we introduced our daily practice of oral hygiene after meals, with each child having access and responsibility to take care of the their toothbrush and cup. In both situations, the importance of hygiene and the positive consequences of these practices were explained.
At the activity level, we developed artistic and plastic expressions (drawing and writing techniques, brush painting and gouache/paints, tearing techniques, cutting techniques, fine motor skills), dramatic expression, motor skill/expression games, teamwork, association games, informal conversations/games, musical expression, among others.
But more important than the syllabus taught during the school year were the skills and values acquired by these children. Looking today at the development of each one, in general, we see children who have essentially developed social and personal skills, their expressiveness, creativity, emotions and feelings. And it is in this that we focus to summarize the year that has passed.
Initially, in general, the children showed low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, something that we have developed over time through dynamic and informal situations, and one can observe the evolution at that level. Today they are more expressive and more confident children. Above all we have tried to develop self-esteem and give freedom of expression to the child, making them spontaneous and autonomous in the tasks performed. We gradually develop our ability to concentrate on the development of a task, capacity for initiative, we assign daily tasks, challenging their sense of responsibility.
With regard to communication, they not only clearly improved their ability to express their wishes, needs and opinions, but also focused on the assimilation of vocabulary of the Portuguese language, because throughout the school year these children had direct contact with it. We can say that there has been a significant improvement in understanding and familiarization. Although they still cannot express themselves in Portuguese, they have a huge capacity for imitation, something that arises naturally over time.
We close the doors of kindergarten with a filled heart and with the certainty that this learning process will continue in the next year. We are trying to give the tools that we consider essential to these children for a free future full of values, thus drawing their own way, and that, one day, they may be influencing the generations to come.
Thank you to all those who, directly or indirectly, participated in this project.