Saturday, January 26, 2013

Giving Project

The Penn State Child Care Center at Hort Woods chose the Urukundo Children's Home and Learning Center as their Global Giving Project for 2012!!

Families and teachers donated to help furnish the new primary school. Almost $400 was collected, enough to buy 6 children's desks and chairs, a bookshelf and teacher supplies.

The winner of the drawing for the Rwandan basket was Nest of Wonder teacher, Cassie Massaker. She shared, "I like the idea of a partnership with classes at each school as it is never too early to learn about other countries and appreciate what we have. I realized some of the children knew more about Rwanda than I did. They inspired me to learn what THEY had to share. And now with Grace Hakizimana, a Rwandan teacher at our school sharing her stories, it brings more life into the classroom partnership. She makes it all more real."

As Cassie admired her basket she asked me to tell her about it. Before I did she mentioned she was getting married this summer. I shared that it was appropriate that she was the winner as it is usually given to a couple when they get married. It represents Sharing, Saving and Solidarity. Sharing...the basket is given as a wedding gift filled with rice or beans. the couple use the beans and rice, they refill it throughout their life. Solidarity...they are a part of their community.

Thank you Hort Woods for your generosity!!!!

*Linda Reichert, Center Director
*Rwanda Display for parents and children
*Winner Cassie Massaker
*New desks and bookshelves


I asked Linda Duerr, Director of Programming at the Penn State Child Care Center at Hort Woods, to share about our classroom to classroom partnership.

"The idea for the partnership between Rwanda and Hort Woods emerged almost as if it was planned and yet, it was quite natural and spontaneous. Over a year ago, Carol Falke contacted me about the possibility of having our preschool children and teachers connect with preschool children and teachers in Rwanda.

Helping very young children have a global perspective and come to an understanding of the diversity of our world is a challenge. They are only just beginning to understand the world outside their own homes after all. In order to make this type of social studies curriculum meaningful it is necessary to consider how to present it to children in a developmentally appropriate manner.

I put the idea to one of our master teachers, Nina Fellin, and she took the ball and ran with it. Meaningful and rich curriculum has emerged with her guidance and support. We also have a teacher from Rwanda in our school and are able to learn about Rwanda in a very authentic way by way of her sharing her culture with us. We have exchanged images, drawings, artifacts and words to help us all understand the world of our friends in a small country so far away. We have formed a global connection between our two learning communities.

*Grace Hakizimana, a teacher from Rwanda sharing her culture
*Linda Duerr and Nina Fellin at the preschool
*Nina's class learning about Rwanda

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kids to Kids

Partnerships continue with schools and children. Caroline, an 8 year old, was one of the "Kids in Mission" team members at St. Paul's United Methodist Church that collected over 300 pairs of flip flops and crocs for Rwanda. She and her older sister Emma also sponsored books for Rwanda and wrote a special message inside them. As third graders, children studied Africa. Caroline told her teacher, Linda Margusity, that she knew about Rwanda and the next thing I knew I was asked to speak to over 50 children in 3rd grade at Mt. Nittany Elementary School, State College, PA. A new partnership was formed with two teachers, Linda Margusity and Tia Burget and their students.

I shared stories and photos about the geography, culture, poverty, children, schools and why I was going to Rwanda. The children were curious, attentive and asked brilliant questions. I also shared art pieces......baskets, musical instruments, fabric and dung art that received a few "ews".

These two classes will be collecting buttons and saving them in 2 Rwandan baskets. Several 3rd graders will work with their teachers to prepare lesson plans on how to use buttons in teaching. These lesson plans will be given as a gift to the teachers and children in Rwanda. They will also work on a small art project using the buttons that I will present to one of the classes. The class in Rwanda will then create an art project for me to bring back and share. Art will be exchanged across the world.

I look forward to sharing about a school writing project that is in the works.

*Presentation on Rwanda
*Not too sure about Dung Art
*Sisters, Emma, Caroline on the right. Children can lead the way!!!!