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2015 Feb • Helping At Joglo Preschool

Autumn Star traveled to Indonesia in February 2015. She reports on her work at Joglo Preschool here:

When I first arrived in Indonesia I spent three weeks helping out at Joglo Preschool at Peace Place in Pati, Central Java. It was an inspirational three weeks as I worked with the teachers and watched them soak up new material and ask lots of questions.

 

I went with a list of ideas that Nadine and I had brainstormed of things I could work on with the teachers. Here is a bit about what we covered:

Art projects, Feb. 16, 2015 at Joglo Preschool; photographer Autumn Star

Art Projects — a challenge for the teachers at Joglo Preschool is coming up with new ideas for projects and making them happen. So our main focus while I was there was having new art projects every week. We went through the projects Nadine had left examples of and picked which ones would work for the themes we were working within. It was a process of exploring how the art projects needed to be shifted based on the developmental levels of the children, thinking about how to observe and create, and talking about how to support the children in their learning.

Consistency and Follow-Through — one thing I noticed as I watched what was going on in the preschool was that often there was need for more follow-through and consistency with the children. The teachers tended to express expectations to the children without then holding to what they were asking for. This brought us to conversations about expectations, communication, and how we can best support the students growth as primary role models. We talked about how we can best relate to what is going on for the children, how we can address the children’s needs, and how we can offer them guidance.

Books— reading books is not a regular thing that happens a Joglo Preschool, and eventually I learned why. The teachers felt that they did not know how to read books to the children, and they did not think storytelling would hold the children’s attention. Yet, on my past trips to Indonesia we had read stories with the teachers, demonstrating how and emphasizing its importance. What becomes clear in this experience is that people cannot absorb some of the basic, simple things that many people find so obvious until they

Story time! Feb, 18 2015 at Joglo Preschool; photographer Autumn Star

have the foundation of other skills and experiences to support them, especially as they were never read to as young people. I am seeing this pattern repeat itself as I watch the children at Joglo, who have not experienced or had role models for reading books. So while they may look at pictures in books, they do not yet understand what it means to tell a story. Now, with a little bit of encouragement we were able to shift the beliefs of the teachers and on the last day that I was at Joglo we had our first story time. Let me tell you, the children were not the only ones with wide eyes and curious minds. Afterwards we had a great discussion about reading books, attention spans, learning, and having regular story times!

 

On my last day at Joglo I was given words of appreciation and gratefulness, for bringing new ideas, sharing my knowledge, and helping the teachers. I could only return the same feelings, as I learned and grew from the experiences as much as the teachers.

 

Feeling inspired,

Autumn

 

Teachers and students at Joglo Preschool, Feb. 17 2015; photographer Autumn Star