Link to Hope
PROJECT Future Changed ‘Kindergarten’
WHERE Iasi, Romania
WHO The children of Dallas Shanty Town
WHAT IS IT Kindergarten that teaches 4-6 years old core subjects as well as social skills to enable them to integrate when they eventually go to school. The children are from the poorest families in the community
IMPACT Directly impacts 20 children.  Indirectly impacts 100 people

The project is run by our Future Changed Team -three teachers and a social worker.  Every three months Mirela who leads the project, updates us on what the children have been learning.  

“As usual, we set out to discover as many treasures as possible from the books and to educate not only the minds, but also the hearts of the children. Thus, at the end of the school year we were able to say: „We are proud of all of you! Congratulations!” Each children received a beautiful diploma.

In the first week of the month, the main theme was MEANS  OF  TRANSPORTATION.

The most important topics discussed with children and the objectives to be achieved by them were: recognition of the main means of transportation (car, train, ship, plane); knowledge of all types of transport (aerial, aquatic, terrestrial or underwater); to name correctly the person who drives a certain means of transport (pilot, driver, mechanic of locomotive, sailor); to describe and know the main parts of a means of transport (for example: the bus is driven by a driver; the bus has wheels, doors, car body, wipers, mirror, horn, engine full of fuel, seats, steering wheel and other parts); to identify the right places to cross the street and to respect the general traffic rules.

The children were challenged to be good observers, both in kindergarten and on the street (of course after making sure they chose the most appropriate and safe place). Then, they answered to a few questions: „When we travel on the street, what means of transport do we travel with?”; „What is flying, up in the sky and is hiding into fluffy clouds?”; „What dances, floats on waters, then stops in the harbor at the waterfront?”. The answers were very good, although some of the children did not have the opportunity to see with their own eyes a boat or a ship.

 

At Creativity they made small boats and rafts, which they then launched on the water (they even had oars, some plastic spoons); also, they made race cars and trains with wagons placed one behind other; the children practiced mathematical  knowledge which they studied (the cardinal numbers 1, 2, 3 …. 10, but also ordinal numbers (first, second, third…last).

Another day, each child had to say: „What do you do if you throw the ball on the street, or between the railroad tracks or in the water?”. Some of children answered: „I go to get my ball!” and others said: „I wait and ask for help to an adult!”. In the end, the children understood the dangers in the middle of the street, how dangerous could be the water if you don’t know how to swim; also, how dangerous is the train that does not stop so easily if something gets in its way. The children then played on the carpet, safely and imitated the specific sounds of train (Tuuu-Tuuu), of cars (Beep-Beep) and of a ship (Vuuu-Vuuu!).

 

Besides the fact that the means of transport are useful, comfortable and fast, people use them not only for personal purposes, for their families, but also for various services such as: medical services, for army and state defense, police cars or firefighters, for food transportation, city sanitation machines, tractors in agriculture, special machines on construction sites (bulldozers, excavators) and much more. Other means of transport can be used for fun, recreation or sportive competitions (bicycles, rollers, sleighs, skates, parachutes, hot air balloons, boats); for exploring the outer space are used the rockets, and submarines to descover the depths of the oceans. Animals can also be used for transport (for riding or horse tied in a harness to the carriage). We all sang about this: „I have a house somewhere on a hill, to get to it, I get on a horse, Hopa-hopa-hop, let’s walk, let’s gallop!”. The children felt very well also, when we sang together: „Plane, plane take me in flight! I don’t take you, you are too small, you have to grow a little more!”

 

We imagined what could happen if all these means of transport will start to go in the same time, without traffic rules; it would be a total chaos, a disaster, much noise, a huge congestion of means of transport; no one would get anywhere, the streets would be blocked with many accidents, and people would be in danger, they could even lose their life. We don’t want to happen this in reality! Therefore, all people who use a means of transportation must comply with certain traffic rules and a specific route; an other important thing is checking the operating condition of the means of transport; in this way, all people will reach their destination safely.

 

The children have learned some traffic rules for pedestrians; they know that the traffic light is a good friend for them; it shows them a color and seems to shout to them: „Stop at red! Go at green! Listen the sounds! Look around! Don’t run! Never to play on street!”. The children also met Mrs. „Zebra” (pedestrian crossing); they promised to her that would always cross the street with her help.

 

In general, the means of transportation are safe, but also can be dangerous for people; sometimes nature can cause: car accidents; the storms at sea can sink the ship; the turbulence of air currents, rain, hail and lightnings can crash a plane; landslides can destroy streets or railroad tracks and take everything downhill. We must always pay attention to what is happening around us and protect ourselves, but also others.  By car, train, plane or ship we can travel across seas and oceans, from one continent to another, from one country to another, from one city to another or from one neighborhood to another. Nothing can stop us to discover the world around us and to start a wonderful journey, in air, on land or water. 

 

In the following weeks of June, our main theme was OUR  WORLD. The main topics studied were: Our Planet – The Earth, Landforms, Atmosphere and Pollution.

Our little earthlings and imaginary astronauts have discovered that the Earth is round and flattened at the two poles, the Sun is very hot and we can not get close to it; they saw through the science images that the planet has not only stone, water or dust and that the Earth’s surface is not smooth like a slice of bread; they saw high mountains (Carpathians in Romania), plains rich in wheat and corn (the Moldavian Plain or the Danube Plain), hills like humps of camels, full of forests, grass and colorful flowers (Chiciora Hill); there are desert areas with fine sand dunes (in Dăbuleni – Dolj); the children found out that the sea water is very deep and salty (Black Sea) and its waves hit the shore, leaving behind white foam and shells; they understood that sea water is not drinkable, but is useful for marine animals, the food industry, navigation or to extract the sea salt; they noticed that some waters / rivers are borders between two states (the Prut River separates Romania from the Republic of Moldova, and the Danube River separates Romania from Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine); the water curtain of the waterfalls liked very much to children (in our country is famous Bâlea Waterfall from Făgăraș Mountains); they were equally impressed by the power of earthquakes, which can collapse buildings and break the ground making deep cracks; also were impressed by high tsunami waves, also by the effect of volcanoes, their craters, eruption and hot lava; the teacher realized a demonstration at the Science lesson, creating a volcano with help of the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar.

 

During this month, we went out with the children in the garden and used all senses to learn and understand better our world; they saw the soil, the ants, the spiders, the shapes of stones and leaves, the color of flowers and sunny sky; they smelled the fresh grass an breathed the air full of oxygen so important and vital for all the people, plants and animals; their little feet trampled the earth’s crust to be convinced by the fact that is the only hard and solid part of the Earth (they knew that inside, the planet is boiling and is hot like fire; „Wow! We don’t want to burn our feet!  It is great on surface!” The children felt on their skin the pleasant warmth of the Sun and warm touching of wind. They heard with their ears the chirping of birds, the hum of bees, and even their laughter; at the table they ate sweet and tasty bananas.

 

Among other interesting details learned by children we mention: the planet spins around the Sun, but also around its own axis like a whirligig and so the seasons, day and night formed; every day we see the same sun, sky, moon and we live the same moments of the day in just 24 hours (morning, afternoon, evening, midnight). The children began to spin, but they became dizzy ; they stoped and gave up to move (but they know that Earth does not stop, it is in constinuous motion); the Earth is the only place where there are necessary living conditions for humans, plants and animals; they learned new notions as continent, ocean, tectonic plates, atmosphere.

 

God has given us as a gift this planet and its rich resources; when we use something obtained from nature, let’s not forget (all of us) to give thanks and be grateful; to think for a moment „What our life would be like without that  thing?” (for example: without water, air, heat of Sun, soil, plants, animals, petroleum, coal, wood, stone, gold, iron, copper, marble, pumice stone, sandstone, clay, precious stones, salt, sand, the force of rivers and streams that produce electricity and many others just as important and valuable).

 

We can all contribute to air, water or soil quality by doing things in the right way. Teachers took action and gave the children some advice: „Recycle! Reuse! Don’t waste water, energy, paper, plastic, glass! Recicle paper in the blue basket! Recicle plastic and metal in the yellow basket! Recicle the glass in the green basket! Throw the household waste in the gray bin!”. All these correct habits and reducing the uses of polluting industrial machinery and equipment will change the environment in well in all the world. All of us (you, me, your family and mine) will enjoy by the resources of the planet, without harmful effects, and the quality of our health will be better.

 

♥♥♥ A dangerous virus (SARS COV 2 – COVID 19) has spread all over the world, and for a while our world has stopped and nothing has been the same; for the last few months, the Sun was left alone, without people who appreciate its brightness and warmth; the trees were prepared with shade and coolness, but no one came to sit and rest under them; the birds sang on the branches of the trees, but had no one to hear them; the air was cleaner than ever, but the people who was gets out to buy the necessary things for their home could not breath it because they wore masks on their nose and mouth; children’s voices and laughter stopped being heard because kindergartens and public parks were closed; we isolated ourselves from each other, we were locked in our houses, but we did not stop greeting our neighbors and encouraging each other from the windows; our minds were bombarded with bad news, but we could not stop the good thoughts for all those in suffering; we stocked up on food, but we didn’t forget those who didn’t even need a bag, because they had nothing to put in it; we wore masks for our safety and of those around us, but the beautiful words and songs raised to God could still be heard; we did not forget to smile; we were scared and maybe worried about this virus, but we learned that we need courage and to be united, to start a war against it, not a war between people. Goodness, love, faith and hope will live on forever. There is no virus to kill them. Let’s all take part in this fight and to use the right weapons to win (the solidarity, respect, compassion, tolerance, patience, obedience to authorities). May peace and joy fill your hearts, wherever you are in this wonderful world! ♥♥♥

 

This month’s theme was SUMMER AND WATER. In Romania we have noticed a change in the weather characteristics in recent years due to global warming; summer is no longer long and with sunny days, the weather is unstable and surprising, it changes from one hour to another, from one day to another and there are large differences in air temperature; sometimes the heat is suffocating, the sky is clear, and suddenly black and creepy clouds appear, the hail falls on ground, the wind takes the form of small tornadoes, the trees are broken, the roofs fly through the air hitting everything in their path; the sun brings us much joy with its warm rays and bright light, but sometimes the Earth seems to burn; everything is hot (the asphalt, buildings, our bodies), and the plants on the fields begin to dry out; thus, food reserves for the population decrease greatly; in some areas of the country is drought; the water, so important for life, it is missing; the soil cracks underfoot as if it were in desert; in other areas, it rained so much that floods occurred and the houses were swept away by the swirling waters; some people and many animals lost their lives; the plants were destroyed, drowned. There is no more balance in the nature. The sun is both, our friend and our enemy, as is water. We must always be in alert! The planet gives us signals that suffers because of pollution! „Let’s try to protect it more, because here is our home; we do not have another planet, or sun or source of water”.

 

All children understood how valuable is water, especially when they were thirsty; they learned that the Earth is 70% covered with water (rivers, streams, lakes, seas and oceans), but not all water is fresh and good to drink; the teachers spoke to children about the circuit of water in nature, about the marine animals that live in these deep and large waters, but also about the rich resources of the waters. Water, so important for life is useful, both in our homes and in various industries, navigation, for fun and water sports or in agriculture; fishermen catches fish of all shapes and sizes (mackerel, tuna, sardines, cod, salmon), but also crabs, shrimp, lobsters; certain algae are used in the manufacture of cosmetics, medicines or food, the seashells are collected from bottom of water where they are hiding in sand; the deep sea is drilled for oil; on the shore, children can play with the golden sand, collect heart-shaped shells or enter in sea water to learn to swim like fishes; they know that it is forbidden to enter in water if the red flag is hoisted.

 

During the month, children found the correct answers to questions such as: „Why is the sea blue? How do waves form? What is sand made of? How does the fish breathe in the water? Why don’t ships sink? What is the largest marine animal? What is a hurricane? What is a krill? What is an iceberg? The lobsters are dangerous? What are corals? Is there a clownfish in sea? Why does the water freeze? Why is no fish in the Dead Sea? Why is it called hammerhead shark? Are there dolphins in the Black Sea?” At the end, we all had the impression that we were on a short trip by sea, but also underwater. „Does anyone have sea sickness? Oh, no! … Just kidding!” Everything was fun and interesting!”

 

The Future Changed Kindergarten is a magical place for these wonderful children  – who have had a really unfortunate start in life – to just be children.  The sponsors of this project enable children who have no chance in life, to be given the opportunity to learn and be in a strong position to start school rather than have a high chance of school drop out which is what used to happen.