The Homework Club was started when it became apparent that all the hard work that had been started at the kindergarten was being lost when the children went to school. Suddenly they were left without support, had little encouragement from often illiterate parents and homes that were dark, crowded, noisy and not conducive for doing their homework.
So the Homework Club was started to not only give children a safe space and support to do their homework, but also to help develop their characters as they got older and to try to introduce and teach important life lessons that they would need to flourish in life.
FUTURE CHANGE – THE HOMEWORK CLUB REPORT – JAN – APR 2017
Teacher: Iolanda Grigoreanu
“The character of a human being is a complex reality that actually shows who we really are. Character is shown by how one reacts, talks, behaves, how one chooses his friends and even how one dresses.
As it is known a person’s character is formed as a small child and organized gradually being influenced by the innate temperament, the living environment and upbringing in the family and beyond. It is not present at birth, nor it is created, but it is formed.
Knowing all these things we realize that also the people outside the family have a direct influence on the development of a child’s character, in other words we can say that we, teachers from the Homework Club, have an important influence on children’s character.
With these thoughts I set out at the beginning of the school year. I tried for as much as possible to combine what children learned in class with practice, trying to give the children practical examples. So during lessons the children received specific topics for homework (to put into practice). The tasks were very simple for those children who really wanted to carry it out. I was glad to see that some of them had shown a great interest and have fulfill it.
The objectives for this period were to show acts of kindness to people around them, to be thankful with what they have, and to be generous and share the things they can offer. So we approached specific themes such as the characteristics of character, where they learned to differentiate between a good and a bad character, the importance of knowing ones own emotions, satisfaction, generosity and obedience.
At first I tried to re-introduce the ,,The child of the day” activity only this time there were some new elements. The winning child had to fulfill some serious conditions to receive the award. The winning child would have the chance to win certain things. Thus, he had to draw from a bowl a note where there was a reward. Children were very enthusiastic about this method and almost all of them made it their objective to be „The child of the day”. Some times there were more children who deserved to be „The child of the day” and almost every day 2 or 3 children had a chance to win. This method has worked pretty well. Many children were able to be „The child of the day” and they really felt the joy and pleasure to receive a small reward for their good behavior. My joy was even greater when I could give the prize to a child who, in the past had a bad behaviour and who made efforts to be conscientious and good.
During this time children have learned what character is, what importance it has and what are the features that define a good character and a bad one. This was exemplified by the story „Do not cut away the character” from where children understood that we can have a good character, but in time it can be changed into a bad one, and vice versa. At the biblical lesson I talked about the Joseph, who formed and mantained a good character throughout his life, so God helped him very much and together with him made a great plan.
Another issue I wanted to approach with the children was about emotions. I thought that a good emotional development must begin from an early age and children need to build a vocabulary of emotions and the ability to recognize their own emotions and of others. So I tried to elaborate on this subject moving beyond basic emotions (happiness, sadness, anger) and trying to get them to know different types of emotions (shame, bored, excited, surprised, etc.). Thus, with the help of pictures, posters, discussions and examples the children were able to understand some different types of emotions. The main purpose of these lessons was how to actually recognize their own emotions, how to control their emotions and the importance of expressing them to people they trust.
Another thing we did was to have a poster which had all kinds of emotions exemplified and when i asked the children how they felt, they were suppose to show me by placing their finger on the emotion figure from the poster wich best represented how they actually felt. I was glad to see that some of the children were able to learn several types of emotions.
Another topic was about giving. Children have learned that they can give not only material things but
also symbolic things, they can give hugs, flowers, kind words, smiles, help, congratulations. You can even give of your time to be with someone, or you can even give your friendship etc. All things you can do with pleasure and love you can actually give to others. Children liked this subject and have been enthusiastic. For this lesson we made a small poster where I wrote only the names of those children who, when they were home or school did good things. I was glad to see that they liked this idea and thus they spoke kindly, they shared their lunch with colleagues at school, offered hugs and helped others.
Another topic was about thanksgiving. They learned from the story ,”The lesson of thankfulness” that it is very important to be thankful for what you have. Together we had an activity in which we wanted to take a trip to „the land of thankfulness”, but to get there we had to fight enemies, such as anger, frown, rage. To get through each obstacle children had to find as many reasons for thankfulness. In the end we won and we got into the world of thankfulness.
During the biblical lessons, children learned about the importance of gratitude from the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus Christ. They were very impressed that only one leper out of ten returned to thank Jesus. We note here that it is a great thing to be thankful in this life.
As a practical thing during this lesson the children had to write a letter of thanks to their parents and take it home. The children were very happy to do something for their parents and the greatest joy I think it was when they gave those letters.
During this time I can say that the children were calmer and more receptive to what we learnt together. I enjoyed seeing their enthusiastic faces when they came and told me that they have done their practical homework. This gave me the will to continue regardless of the obstacles that come our way”