Friday, March 15, 2013

A lovely day...

It's Friday! This has been a pretty good week, but today was just one of those "lovely" days. The children were engaged, joyous in their explorations, working well together, helping each other- like I said, lovely! Friday mornings we have a playgroup for the 2 and 3 year olds. Today their greatest delight was an old bed plank and some cushions, turned into a balancing beam and an opportunity to take risks, conquer fears and feel GREAT about themselves!
I loved the great willingness there was to help each other.

Delight- I feel brave!

Such concentration- every time Jed walked across the beam his tongue came out. He was SO focused on the challenge at hand! See Gerelt on the right? She watches with great anticipation, ready to cheer Jed on as he makes it all the way across. Sweet!

Here she takes the challenge herself... she is a little unsure at first, but perseveres!

And this jump at the end! Powerful!

There was lots of opportunity to practise waiting and taking turns, thinking of others and being fair.

The children were thrilled to "walk the plank"! J

Our after school program was mostly our pre-school aged children today as our school children had the day off and parents had to go to school and do lessons! I think that's a great idea! Anyway, we decided to create some gorgeous peacocks using crayon resist painting. We got some ideas from here, here and here, and then blended them together to create these.... aren't they fabulous?! 


 Yes... a lovely day! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! J

For the love of reading!

Reading  Is  Fun

a poem by Nellie Edge

 Reading  is  fun

Reading  is  fun

Reading  is  fun  for  everyone.

The  more  you  read

The  better  you  read

So  read,  read,  read!
Just recently some of our staff and board members where able to attend some information sessions run by the ministry of education, talking about the change and direction that early childhood education in Mongolia will take in the next few years. Exciting to hear! One of the things that is being realised now is that reading is VERY important for young children and that this needs to become a priority and focus- YES!! The challenge is definitely the distinct lack of quality children's literature in Mongolia, and a general lack of availability of books in general. I must say that in the almost 3 years I have been living here I have seen a leap in availability and quality, which is wonderful, but there is still a long way to go. One of my dreams (amongst many!) is to see more quality children's books translated into Mongolian and made accessible ($15 for a quality children's book is not an option for most families) and to encourage and support local children's book authors and illustrators to see more quality Mongolian children's books becoming available. One really awesome thing that came out of this is that one of our board members has been inspired to write children's books, and has already written 2! We are now looking for someone who can illustrate them with quality, and at and affordable price- but it's exciting!
Most kindergartens that I step into have very few, if any, picture books- and they are either completely falling apart, or look as though they have never been handled (they look pretty, but children don't get to handle them- for fear that they will be ruined). The reading that our school-aged children do iis mostly out of text books, and certainly not terribly inspiring.
Many years ago, one of my university lecturers suggested to us student teachers to start building up our children's book collections by asking our friends to buy them for us as birthday gifts. For my 21st birthday I received "The very hungry caterpillar" and "The bad tempered ladybird" (Eric Carle) and I have been collecting children's books ever since! Thanks to that Dream Family now have a lovely collection of old and new, hilarious and informative, classics, soon to be classics, much loved, and much read children's books. My staff and I are working at translating these books, and I have to say it is hard to keep up with how fast the children are reading them. They can't get enough of them!! Lately I have also scored and been able to pick up some wonderful translated books- I even found some Robert Munsch!
I love watching these children blossom as they pick up books and read- they are gaining confidence in their reading, they are laughing and delighting in the characters and their situations, they love to be read to, they love to read to a friend, and more and more they are finding a quiet moment to get lost in a book. It's magical!
Here are some of my favourite reading moments captured:
Teachers having fun with a new book and figuring out how they will read it for the children.
Yes, even adults can delight in a children's book!
Everyone needs to discover the delights of reading- even the toys!
There's not much that beats sharing a book with a special friend! J


Acting out the story!
Observational drawing from an information book on spiders- Tuggi's absolute favourite!
Our new atlas is beautiful!
There's that atlas again!
Robert Munsch- world best seller! (advertised in the gold star on the front cover)
"Cockatoos" by Quentin Blake. we LOVE it!
And again, this atlas was a great investment- it cost me around $40, but it is in Mongolian and packed full of knowledge in information of the world, which the children are now reading and discovering for themselves!
On the "edge of their seats" so to speak- "Caps for sale", one of those classics I was mentioning J

Oh for the love of reading! Oh for the love of seeing Mongolian children discovering books, discovering the delight of reading! Read children... read, read, read! J