My experience in the crèches has been very empowering and eye opening so far. The first time I visited VCCC I was really impressed by the set up of the crèche. Everything was very organized and they had an abundance of materials. I could see different focus areas, and several daily schedules throughout the classroom. I was really happy to see dictation son the children’s artwork. I couldn’t help but to think that this crèche didn’t need my help. When I observed the teachers I saw how well they interacted with the children, but they also spoke to them casually as if they had very strong and personable relationships with them. That reminded me of the way I speak with the kids at my job, they’re not only my students, but I treat them as a part of my family because they are. In my opinion, when you have watched children grow up from such a young age, and also worked closely with their families, you can’t help but to feel as they’re a part of your family. I was really happy to get to know the teachers at VCCC at the welcome lunch. That was a great opportunity for us to all get to know each other and talk about thing other than work. It was definitely an opportunity to build trust.
Bright Morning Star is very different from VCCC. This crèche just opened in January, it is also based in a church so they aren’t able to fully settle into their classroom. The teachers at this crèche are very personable and seem to really trust me and Adrianna to help them. I can tell they enjoy the work they do and care a lot about the children. I had a discussion with Shireen’s husband and he told us how he felt about the work we’re doing here. He explained that we come in to the crèches, shower the children with “love” and expose them to an extremely different teaching style than they are used to, then leave. Which can be hard for the children in the long run. This is something we all knew but it was very impactful to hear from someone on the outside looking in and that didn’t know much about our program, but understood his community. It reminded of the importance to work with the teachers and build their confidence and skill in the short time we are here.
The next day when I went to Bright Morning Star, I took a big step back from engaging with the children. When a child asked me to play, I encouraged him to ask his regular teacher. This was very hard for because the child looked confused and I felt like I was rejecting him. But he eventually did ask his regular teacher and I was so happy seeing them together. Later that day we discussed what the teachers wanted help with, and what our focus should be in the crèche. The principal said she just wanted the space to look like a crèche. For some reason hearing her say that brought tears to my eyes because I could tell how much they trusted me and Adrianna and were so grateful that we’re here. It felt good to collaborate with them and identify exactly what it was they wanted us to do. I hope these women know that although their center may not look like “a crèche” yet, they are indeed a safe place for children and a staple in Vrygrond. I can’t wait to continue working with them and helping bring their vision to reality.