This week I spent some time at a day care centre for needy kids. It was difficult, but also a great experience. I went every afternoon for 2 hours. The centre is for 1 – 5 year olds and they are there all day from 7:45 to 5pm. I was first introduced to the centre by Mr Alan Tin-Win of Markham College and a group of girls on their service work. This particular day they were painting one of the classrooms.
The centre is divided into 4 sections: one section for 1-2 year olds, and a classroom each for 3, 4 & 5 year olds. The centre has its own kitchen and the children are given morning tea, lunch and an afternoon yoghurt type drink. Social workers determine whether families need this support. Health care workers visit regularly to monitor children’s health and growth. There is also a psychologist who visits to meet work with some of the children with behavioural issues, plus gives support to the teachers. A dance teacher who has his own classroom, takes the classes on rotation, teaching them traditional Peruvian dances. After lunch all the children have a half hour nap and this you will see in the photos. They are very cute when they are asleep, but when awake, they are a handful. Several of the boys are quite aggressive – certainly more aggressive than I have ever experienced in children this age. I was pretty shocked at some of the behaviour and one boy I had to keep a hold of all the time during activities as he would lash out at other kids, completely unprovoked. In one of my sessions, two 4 year old boys had a full on fight and had to be pried apart.
Due to my limited Spanish, I took short sessions in English: numbers, colours, greetings and simple songs plus I did some music activities. I only worked with the 4 & 5 year olds. On the whole the kids were very sweet and loved affection. On my last afternoon they had a “fiesta” which involved all ages dancing and a visit from Barney. I really enjoyed my time there and will go back when I return from the project in Cusco.