I’m on time today. I’d dare to say, in advance. Wow. This doesn’t really happen so often and I’m quite proud of myself. After 2 weeks, I’m able to be on time. Matt is here, with his tiny, squashy bottle-green Panda and off we go. As usual, we have breakfast at our bar, but today I change my seat. The week is about to end and we end up talking about the closest future. What about next? What about in a week time? What’s going to happen? Ideas, wishes, loads of energy, vibrant vibes of a new adventure.
Oh, the schedule. I share about what we are going through today, we come up with a very nice idea to put into practice, Eskimo paper dolls. Children are going to love it, I know it. (Not you Matt, I know. “When I was a kid I couldn’t have ever imagined to spend so much time coloring, cutting and being artist. I’ve never been crafty, I’d rather have prefered to devour one book after the other, or to write.” Well, anyway, I think that it will be a nice idea for the kids. Let’s go, children are about to arrive.
Matt lets us guess where the Polar Arctic and the Antarctica are, which animals live there, which kind of environment it is, and we discover that we already know a lot about it! It’s so nice when the teachers don’t teach us. It’s so nice when they ask, when they lead us to the answer, when they make all the possible not to give the answer, but to elicit it from our common and previous knowledge. And Matt perfectly does so.
We watch a video, we meet the Arctic fox, the Polar bear, the walrus, the sea lion, the penguin and the people who live very close to this ecosystem: the Eskimos.
Now it’s my turn, I decide we are going to challenge our memory. We make two teams, I give children some time to memorize all the words, how they are written. Then, I cancel them from the blackboard, I give a pen and a sheet to each group and they start writing down the words. They talk, they discuss, they don’t remember how Eskimo is written (they write Eschimo), they fight over whose turn is, they collaborate. It’s a lot involved. We check and go on.
Another memory challenge for our explorers! I put down on the floor eight flashcards, face up. They have time to memorize until I turn them face down. What’s this? – I ask, pointing at the first one. Penguin. Good job! What’s next? Walrus. Well done. What’s next? Mmmmmm…. Eskimo? Brrrrr no, sorry, I say while I turn all the flashcards again face down. I repeat with another kid and another and another until they get to the end!
Snack time! Bread and water. Oh, it’s toasted bread with oil and salt. I can’t take it. Variety is definitely something they’re not used to. But children really seem not to care, they would eat bread all day long, those walking stomachs, insatiable bread-eaters. They are happy.
We run upstairs, Art & Crafts room. We make our Eskimo friends out of paper, and then we make them a house: an igloo. A lot of patience and creativity come out of this: some of them even draw the rooms of the house to have the Eskimo live in there. They name the family, the baby, the husky dog and some girls even want to show me in English what they did. I record it and they enjoy so much. Fast finishers go to the library, they know it already, they are building their routine and that feels nice for everybody. What a pity tomorrow it’s going to be over. But I’ m happy. They found their ease in the routine. Sara and Vlada, stop running! Tere, stop riding Gaia around the class! Well, a kind of routine.
We have lunch, play in the courtyard. Time runs, time flies. We go back upstairs, finish our craft and make a great effort to clean up properly the room. Matt leads us properly, he gives us directions and roles, who has to do what and for how long. His tone is first sweet and calm, turning into firm and severe if we don’t… oh, a bedbug! They are so stinky!!!! ..If we loose the focus, his tone helps us going back to what we were doing. I help around and then wait for the children to queue, hug me, kiss me, jump on my back, snuggle at my chest, ask me when they are going to have the snack.
We have the snack and wait for parents to come while we play, grow and learn. It’s the penultimate day. Already. I don’t have any perception of how much we’ve been through. Well, writing helps me stopping, writing helps me reflecting about these kids, about this experience. And it’s been so.. so much. So intense, so reach, so inspiring. Tami and Matt have been great inspiring companions, each one of them differently. With their personality, their character, their peculiar love for Life and Exploring that make them so unique and great Time and Experience Sharer for kids.
And I love them. I’ ve learned I can’t say how much from them, I’ve grown as a teacher, as a learner, as a friend, as a person, as a soul, as a Being. I’ m endlessly grateful for this experience.
Time goes, time flies. And so do I.
READ MORE IN OUR TRAVELOGUE“EXPLORE THE WORLD SUMMER CAMP ’17”
Day 9. Landing the Polar Arctic (take your parka, it’s gonna be freezing!) (13th July 2017)