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 children have been learning about a wide range of subjects:-

The theme of the month was “Houses and Homes”

The children were told that every human on earth needs a place to live (alone or together with their family). The house is the place that offers us comfort, safety, protection against weather’s conditions or other external dangers. It is also the place where we store our personal objects, clothes and everything that we have, where we spend the majority of ours lives and we unite with the family or our friends.

The house, if it’s inhabited by people, becomes a “home” and it means more than walls, utilities, windows, roof and furniture. It is the place where we find the heat in the cold season and coolness in the warm season, the place where we play, carry out our favorite activities or rest. Home is the place we feel the best, where we grow up physically, we spend our childhood and develop. Home is the place where we get memories and always want to come back to… even when the years have passed. At home we have the “baggage” with clothes, toys, books but especially the “baggage” that our parents give to us, filled with much love, kindness, patience, caring for each other, dedication, generosity, responsibility and good organisation. 

The children saw a few pictures with regular houses that had one or more floors, and inside, more spaces for different uses (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, hall, living room, garage). All the rooms were furnished with objects necessary for a normal life and to offer comfort and hygienic conditions. They also saw a few images of houses built by poor people from cardboard or wood, without utilities, windows and the living conditions were terrible. All around those houses, was an indescribable mess and the hygiene conditions were very precarious. It doesn’t matter how the house looks (big or small, simple or extravagant), what matters is the character of the one who lives in that house, and how it contributes to the beauty and care of that place and surroundings.

Let’s not forget that there are people in the world homeless and live on the street. We must help them and to have compassion, because we never know what could be happening with our houses.

The theme of the month was “Our community”

The children learnt that the kindergarten is a community in which all the children perform the same activities and have the same rights (at education, play, song, dance and of course… and much love). The children understood that the teachers are people in which they can trust, and which have the role of helping and giving them important advice for their development from all points of view, so it’s good to listen to them.

The children have also found that they have obligations. To follow the main rules in the kindergarten, to speak with an appropriate tone of voice, to participate at putting toys in order and cleaning the class. Also, to be friendly and generous, to be polite, to encourage each other, to accept and tolerate the others even if they are different in a certain way. The children need to take care of toys, books and all educational materials, to be organised, to avoid dangers and to respect the safety rules. To recognize that if they have done something wrong, to know and to be aware that together, we can find the right solution to any problem. They understood that the rules are useful to help them to become orderly and civilized children.

Most of the children who are enrolled in the project live in a neighborhood that has no running water, sewerage network, the streets aren’t asphalted (when it’s raining is much mud around) and there are no parks, trees or flowers. Their homes are simple, poor and the hygiene of the children and of their houses are precarious but, they all are very happy because there is a Kindergarten in their neighborhood where they come and learn… and maybe, someday, they will participate in “the big change” of their community. All the children know the area, the streets and neighbors from their neighborhood but don’t know their actual address.

During the lessons, the children discovered that besides the houses and apartments blocks, in town there are many other buildings and institutions, full with people who work in different fields of activity (guardian, painter, baker, doctor, driver, policeman, firefighter, chef, librarian, electrician, plumber, teacher, educator, salesman and so on). They understood that all those people who now have a job firstly learned (at kindergarten, at high school or college). Now, our children from kindergarten are small but, the time will come when they will also choose a job and will enjoy the reward of their work and effort.

The theme of the month was “About plants”

The children learnt the following: The parts of a plant, the optimal conditions for development, the tools and the works needed to be done in the garden, in the field or in the forest. They learnt to recognize fruits and vegetables, name the flowers, appreciate the benefits of plants for health, feel the joy of offering and receiving fresh flowers, be sure that the fruits and vegetables they are eating are clean and fresh and to protect the green spaces.

Any piece of dirty land can be transformed into the most beautiful and colorful garden, or from a single seed, it can grow the most beautiful tree that could offers stability to the land, shade, oxygen, wood, animal shelter, fragrant flowers or tasty fruits.

Sometimes, because of the modernization forests and green parks to be destroyed. For some people, it is more important to be rich than care about the environment. But there are also some people, who have defended nature, they sacrificed their lives and health and with the risk of going to jail (Wangari Maathai, winner of the Nobel Prize).  

All the children in kindergarten had the opportunity to feel the smell and taste of fruits and vegetables (the kids and all the team from the project prepared a fruit salad and a vegetable salad). Children ate all from the plates and thanked God for these delicious and good foods.

The main theme of the month was “Means of Transportation”

The children studied the main types of means of transport: terrestrial, aquatic and aerial. The theme was particularly attractive for all the kids but especially for the boys because they left all the other toys in the class and they chose to play with the cars, buses, planes, boats and trains, brought specifically for this theme.

They also learned some new ideas (traffic, pedestrian, traffic light, pedestrian crossing, accident) but also the main traffic rules which help them all to cross the street in safety. They listened to the story of a boy who, since he did not follow the traffic rules, was injured by a car. After the accident, the boy had serious injuries and the pain made him understand the role of the rules in all the areas of his life. He learned that ‘The Street isn’t the right place to play’!

At the moral-Christian education lessons, the main subject was the Easter Feast. The children were impressed by the real story of Jesus written in the Bible, His suffering on Cross, God’s love declaration for each of them, but most of all liked the fact that Jesus is Risen from the dead.

Link to Hope Kindergarten