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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The children are coming, the children are coming!

After a refreshing holiday break, Holy Cross School is back in action!

The new year school year has brought some refreshing changes:

-Students are growing! ..and not just physically. Most children have advanced a grade level, meaning Holy Cross School now caters up to grade 2

-More staff! We welcomed a grade 2 teacher and a school nurse (mentioned later). Both are invaluable.

-More students! There is a new class of grade R children, in addition to a few new older students. Altogether, our staff:student ratio is 43:11.

-As planned, Stephen Smith and myself have ‘graduated’ with our students to grades 2 and 1, respectively. The new classrooms mean new responsibilities to learn, and we are both enjoying the change.


A quick glimpse into the grade 1 school day:

Repetition, repetition, repetition! We are steadily re-sharpening the skills that were taught in grade R. Students start each day by identifying the day, date, and weather:
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 We are also slowly learning how to correctly write and pronounce vowels. I credit our head teacher for coming up with creative ways to practice:
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Say “a” to your partner.


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AAAAAAAA!!!!!

One way I’ve found myself especially helpful is to find and print educational materials from the internet. For example, when the teacher notices they need help tracing “a”, I excuse myself for 5 minutes and return with 14 custom-made tracing worksheets ready to go (kudos to http://www.kidzone.ws/ for the handy tool).

As mentioned earlier, we are privileged to welcome a school nurse:
Do you remember Itipini from previous posts? Jenny McConnachie, the missionary nurse who pioneered the Itipini clinic for over 30 years -yes, thirty- is now residing in Grahamstown. Jenny has graciously joined the Holy Cross staff, and she is already making a difference  .

If you have 5 minutes to spare, I recommend reading Jesse Zink’s article on Jenny and Itipini.
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Meeting our new nurse.

Another change lies in our classroom schedule, where we now have a special activity each day.

Monday: Movements Class
Think: Physical Education. A great way to start a Monday morning -no joke. After a quick jog around school, we had mini-races and balancing activities. The cool yet sunny weather was wonderful.
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Tuesday: Religious Studies
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"So what happened at school today, honey?"
Br. Josias still teaches the class, often kicking it off with a song or two and then a lesson. There was no worksheet or activity this week, just a basic review of sacraments.

Wednesday: Art Class
New to grade 1 -albeit there was plenty of painting and drawing in grade R. Students went outside and drew whatever stood out to them.
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Thursday: Music Class
No instruments here besides your own voice. This week, we used a cd with several songs conducive to jumping around :)
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This is also a good time for classics like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.

Friday: Laptop Class
These students are good! We reviewed basic typing skills before moving to the maze game. Most students, including those new to Holy Cross, mastered both activities in no time.
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There is plenty more I could tell you, but I think this is plenty for one post :) I would, however, like to mention one more story:

After 7 months of waiting, YASCer Nina Boe has finally arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Having heard of the twists and turns her visa application took -a process which began in July- I can only imagine what it feels like to finally be there. News of her arrival was yet another reason to celebrate this week :)

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey (albeit virtually), and I pray you have a blessed day!

In Christ,
-Cameron S

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