Author: Yang Jiqing, Writing Officer
With the ringing of the bell, class is over.
The children swarm out of the classroom because of the beginning of the outdoor activity class, then the classrooms become empty.
The playground is full of excitement at once. Some children are competing to play on the swings. Most of the boys are fond of playing on the climbing frames and nets. Some girls are not willing to show their weakness and then followed the boys up. A few girls agree to make reed-weaving nearby.
Children are playing on the climbing nets
Children are making reed-weaving with teachers
Yes. This is our daily outdoor activity class for the children in POF.
The swings are made of waste tires, the climbing frames and climbing nets are built by our teachers with tree trunks and ropes, while the reeds are picked by the children on their way to school.
Set up the swing
On the other hand, the teachers begin their work.
The warm morning is as usual as before. On the playground for preschool, the teachers are piling to make climbing frames and balance bridges. Bang, Bang, Bang, the teachers beside them knock and beat at one time, drill holes with electric drills, make stakes with saws, and tie ropes at another time. They will make climbing nets, rope ladders, balance bridges, plum blossom piles, football doors, hurdles, tire cars, wheelbarrows, and bamboo ladders for preschool. All the materials are the tree trunks and bamboos that can be seen everywhere in the village.
Making playing and teaching aids
Waste tires are used to make swing seats
When hearing the news that the teachers are going to make teaching and playing aids for children, parents all put down their works and go to the preschool to pile up and set up climbing frames together with the teachers.
Set up climbing frames
Luo Ruhong, the Project Leader, told me that at present in Ning'er, most preschools covered by POF have such outdoor aids for playing and teaching. Among them, Taida Preschool, Wotuo Preschool, Gantian Preschool and Duanjin Preschool have the most.
The original idea was put forward by the deputy director-general of the local Education and Sports Bureau in response to the county’s policies of “One Village, One Preschool” and “Pre-primary Class Turns into Preschool” in Ning’er. So the project team and Ning’er Education Bureau organized personnel to visit and study in the Kindergarten in Lincang City. And the project staff also participated in the training organized by Humana PeopletoPeople, visited and studied in Yuantong Kindergarten in Kunming. After coming back, they discussed how to set up such aids for playing and teaching to the children. When the personnel didn't know how to make them, they would ask others for advice.
The project team also invited the teachers from the local Education and Sports Bureau, the county kindergarten and the county teacher development center to visit POF, to provide on-site guidance on how to plan and design outdoor activity places reasonably and make outdoor aids for playing and teaching.
The head of the county kindergarten visits and provides on-site guidance
At the same time, Wang Ying, the trainer from Humana People to People, and the teachers of the county are also invited to provide training courses to the teachers of POF and other preschools in the surrounding towns on how to carry out outdoor activities and environmental innovation.
Handicraft training courses for teachers
When the children are immersed in the joy of playing with teaching aids made of natural materials, our project leader and his team, as well as the preschool teachers, are intoxicated by such scenes.
Children are playing balance bridges
Luo Ruhong also mentioned a new term to me: lesson ‘gamification’.
The so-called Lesson Gamification means making the lessons in preschools closer to life, more vivid, more interesting and more diversified. It means that let the children play in the process of studying and study in the process of playing.
They really made it.
Children are playing percussion instruments
The teachers lead the children to go out to the woods outside the campus, let them get close to nature, and understand the laws of flowers and everything growing in nature. Then, the fallen leaves and branches picked up will be used for the environmental innovation in classrooms. In the corner activities, children rush to do role-playing, and read books and play building blocks together.
Corner of the classroom
Corner of the classroom
Children are picking up fallen leaves
Our teachers make use of the limited space and simple materials to make the sunshine, air, sand and water close to the children, so that the children can experience the real happiness. While experiencing the real happiness, the teachers will teach the children more what can't be learned and experienced in the classroom in combination with nature and relevant things. Children like this kind of activity, which makes our project team and teachers feel very successful.
Children are harvesting the corns planted by themselves
In the countryside preschools, the indoor and outdoor aids for playing and teaching are limited.
However, interesting stories often begin with a “but”.
The personnel of this project took local materials and used the common natural materials in the village to make playing aids and teaching aids, so that the children can relate to nature while playing in study and studying in play. In this way, it is natural to avoid the tendency of primary education in preschools.
Make graffiti wall
Luo Ruhong has stayed in the project sites for a long time. He told me that he liked watching children release their natural joys on swings, climbing frames and balance bridges. Even there were many problems in the process of carrying out this work, by communicating frequently, solutions would always come up.
I am moved by these project staff and teachers. For the children in POF, they rush to the most remote villages on poor roads to do M&E and physically get exhausted during the playground construction for preschools and making aids for playing and teaching with their own hands. They do it by themselves, only because they have enough love to put more enthusiasm and energy into it with no complaints.
“One Village, One Preschool and Pre-primary Class Turns into Preschool” Projects is a pilot policy of Yunnan Provincial Department of Education in the field of preschool education. It is hoped that the existing preschool classes could be changed into independent pre-classes/schools, and the pre-classes/schools will be set up in large administrative villages, so as to gradually realize the preschool education layout of “One Demonstration for One County, One government-run for One Township, One Preschool for One village”. Ning’er county is one of the pilot counties.
After preliminary communication and field visit and research, YunnanRepresentative Office of the Federation for Associations Connected to the International Humana People to People Movement (Switzerland) cooperates with the Education Bureau of Ning'er County to assist them in training the teachers employed under the policies of “One Village, One Preschool and Pre-primary Class Turns into Preschool” Projects. It mainly trains and supervises the teachers in terms of knowledge, curriculum management and teaching, to change the teaching method of “primary education” in preschools, to improve the teaching quality.
This project is funded by Beijing Xingyi Construction Engineering Co., Ltd. and Humana People to People.
YunnanRepresentative Office of the Federation for Associations Connected to the International Humana People to People Movement (Switzerland)cooperates this project with the Education Bureau of Ning'er County.
This article only represents the views of the author and not the views or positions of the donor.