Saturday, October 27, 2012

A week in pictures...

Dream Family after school care, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia:

This might not look very significant, but this young designer came up with a back pack, complete with a pocket and straps for our doll- learning, creating and higher-order thinking going on here?  Yes, absolutely!

Not sure why this loaded the wrong way, but if you turn your head to the left you can distinctly see a little person here...

Here's our designer again!

I love how much the children are loving doing crafts and making something new everyday.  It is such a THRILL for them, and something I am realising that we take for granted.  Despite the Mongolian people being very creative, it does not seem to be encouraged much at school, or to be considered very important in the early years.

I also love how each one turns out uniquely, reflecting a little of their creator.  Kind of like us people really!

Building roads...

A well earned break from the homework load- these children just thrive under the attention of a caring adult.  Everyday at some point they will ask "Teacher, can you please play with me?"

Our dramatic play area was out of action due to a cold snap, and the fact that we hadn't sealed the windows yet.  That didn't stop this impromptu tea party from happening, and a pretend nap back there on a bed made from foam blocks.

Seems like it was all just a bit too much for dolly, she has fallen asleep in her food!

A little more engineering...

sorting the bugs...

and taking the butterflies for a spin on the boat!

Sisters sharing a story...

Friends sharing the board...

Proudly displaying both their dinosaurs and the tall structure they made!

Some more dinosaurs

A quick game of Uno

Chatting on the "phone"

Creating a new game with new rules-  I love it when the little ones and big ones work together!

Another perfect example of that: Naran Solonk (in the black shirt) taught the younger girls how to make paper leaves.

And they were thrilled with them!

Another fantastic construction- I think the lego basket flipped and used as a garage is just genius!

Lego, lego, lego... they are all about the lego

Everyday we have new and improved and fabulous designs.  Here are only a few...

Our little bit of Kandinsky flavour  this week was well received (thank you for the lovely idea Deep Space Sparkle)

After we sealed up the windows the temperature in the kitchen (aka dramatic play area) changed dramatically.  There was much rejoicing at being allowed to play there again! :-)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Some snapshots

Here are a few pictures from before all the busyness and big move happened.  They were peaceful  moments, and looking at these pictures makes me smile J

Learning to play a "big kids" game for the first time
This little one will order things and line them up all day!
Such focus and deliberation
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." - Emilie Buchwald
I would love to instill this simple notion into the hearts of
Mongolian families, because it is not only the reader
that is developed on the lap of their parent,
spending time together, delighting in each other. 
It's the whole child.
Trying something new
Playing house, learning for life
I absolutely love the elephants marching three by three...
and the goat and the zebra snuggling up!
Books are just SO much better when looked at through a magnifying glass!
We read "The very hungry caterpillar", we made a very hungry caterpillar.
Now the caterpillar is entering into a young child's imagination,
and a new tale is being spun- one where he stows away in a car
and eats through the driver's shopping! (See him riding in the back there?)
There's that magnifying glass again J

I love the thought and detail that went into this- and her name spelled out in playdough!

The house that Sara built!



The big move

Well... things have been rather silent from me here, but not because there has not been anything happening- far from it!  Since the last time a wrote I had to make a trip to Thailand in order to change my visa over from a student visa to an NGO work visa.  When I came back our summer club had finished and we were getting ready for our after school care program to start up.  And just then, as we felt we were settling in a little, we had a big problem on our hands.  We had to move.  Our downstairs neighbour was not pleased with the amount of noise that they were experiencing from us having children upstairs.  They threatened all sorts of things, and we felt we really needed to at least put our program on hold until we could work out our next step.

After some time thinking, and really seeking the best solution for us, the children and our programs, we decided to switch apartments with a Mongolian family on the 1st floor who were more than willing to move to a nice apartment on the 5th floor.  I knew there would be some work to be done before we could start taking children, but I don't think any of us realised just how much work it would be until we actually got there.  Everyday it seemed like we found something that needed to be added to the rapidly growing list of fixing needs and things to do.  The windows were rotten and broken and need to be replaced.  The walls were covered in scribble, so needed to be painted.  Aside from that just about every other surface also needed to be painted.  Plumbing needed to be fixed, lino needed to be laid (as well as felt and carpet to try and insulate the floors a bit)... the list continued.

After just over a week of working all day, everyday, with lots of help from people and friends around us who blessed us so much- from painting and cleaning, to preparing food for us and looking after the staff children.  The work was a lot, and sometimes seemed never ending, but the atmosphere was fun as we worked together, and the results were quite amazing.  So much so that I think the new place is even looking nicer than the old apartment!

Take a look for yourself...

This window actually had a panel of glass missing,
replaced with a mosquito screen (they are double windows)-
 no wonder the apartment was cold!
The hallway paper had to come off, but we soon realised why it had been put up.
The wall was full of holes!  So... plastering was the job of the hour..
The bathroom looked so dark and dank (partly the mold, and partly
 the hideous paint and wall stickers, and completely covered window)
The entrance needed a bit of work to convey the warm welcome that we wanted.
The wall... the window...
Having some fun while we worked J
There was a job for everyone...
Taking out the old windows
2 guys, and 2 hours- not bad really!
Now are you seeing the difference?!
There's that welcoming entrance we were looking for!
Children at work...
Snack time
A new place, and some new toys!  Thanks Mum and Dad, this one was a real "hit"! J

Oh those precious faces- how I love them!
Busy at work again
This is one of my favourite pictures- the end of a long afternoon,
closing up with a good story!

So now you can see where my time and energies have been this last little while.  A lot of work, to be sure (I won't be changing profession any time soon!  Couldn't say that I am really passionate about renovations) but well worth the effort.  The children are loving the new space, we no longer have to worry about upsetting neighbours, and it is back to business as usual!