South Hebron Hills, Thu 28.2.13, Morning
Purpose of the workshop: Games workshop at the Hashem el-Daraj preschool, together with Huda, preschool teacher.
Hashem el Daraj
We heard the children singing when we arrived. Seedlings have been planted around the preschool and have taken root and there are a variety of spices and plants. It looks as if earth had been brought for the planting and sand and gravel had been added to the area – looks wonderful!
We were happy to see the preschool functioning. 17 children were present. The children were seated at round wooden tables and reached happily to our arrival.
Topic of the workshop: The purpose of the games: understanding and following instructions, providing tools to increase communication among the children with some of the games related to winter and wind.
Work plan: * Relatively easy games for the children so that they would be able to understand and follow the instructions.
· Understanding instructions and more advanced implementation
· Understanding instructions and initiating contact with another child
· Introduce an aspect of competition among the children
· Introduce an aspect of competition between two groups
As usual we divided the activity into stages:
Since it was a nice day, we decided to conduct the activity outside in the preschool playground. We all sat for the first game as a way to focus the children’s attention and to create a place and atmosphere that would “break the ice”, and to put the children at easy.
1. The children sat in a circle and we divided them into three groups of 5-7 children. The 5 boys formed one group and the girls two groups. We tried to teach them the game “broken telephone”…. Huda or Muhamad whispered a word in the first child's ear. That word has to be delivered along the row of children by whispering in the ear. The last one shouts the word he got. Sometimes it was very far from the original word.
2. “Ahmed says” (in Hebrew “Herzl says” and in English “Simon says”): Huda decided on the action/movement that the children were asked to perform. The younger children didn’t participate and sometimes were a nuisance to their older siblings because they clung to them and prevented them from participating.
3. “The blowing wind”: We described the blowing wind game to the children: those with sandals came to the center of the mat and made movements of wind. Similarly, the children who have fathers with the name Mohamed and then, the children wearing orange or blue….. children who will go to first grade next year. As the activity progressed, more and more children participated.
4. “winter”: to walk like wind, falling rain, to walk in rain with an umbrella, sand storm – to react to sand, to wrap oneself up ….. sun shines, close eyes against the sun, cover them. Usually, Huda initiated the movement and they imitated her.
5. “musical hoops”: we collected hoops from the other room in the preschool, enough for all but one child. We placed them around the playground. We rang a bell that we brought with us and when we stopped ringing it, the children were to try to stand in the center of one of the hoops. Each time, the child who did not manage to stand in the center of a hoop left the game. There was a lot of laughter and excitement both from the children and Huda and Amna. We repeated the game because the children liked it.
6. Funny movements: We used the bell for this game. As long as we continued to ring it, the children moved around. When we stopped ringing the bell, the children had to stand in a particular position. Whoever did not do so, left the game. The last child in the game was the winner and we all clapped hands to congratulate her/him.
7. Relay race: the children were divided into two groups and we stood them in 2 lines the first child in each line received a cup and filled it with sand and then walked to the edge of the “sandbox” and spilled the contents into the box. The child then returned with the empty cup and gave it to the next child and so it continued both group finished. We repeated the game and the children became more skillful at it.
As part of our routine, after the children received a treat (this time bananas) and left for home, we sat to summarize the day’s activities. Today’s activities were successful but Huda was disappointed that a large number of the children were not present today and as a consequence, missed these successful activities (some of the children went with their parents who travel long distances to graze the sheep and goats during this season of the year). We repeated and emphasized the purpose of the games played. Huda, at her own initiated, wrote down the different ideas in order to repeat them with the children in the coming days. We found that Huda has a bell and therefore, can if she so desires repeat the games that require a bell.
We tried to understand what she expects from us in terms of workshop content but we didn’t really receive an answer.
We feel that both the children and the preschool teachers have become used to us and that they are more open and ready to take part in the activities. Amna readily assists with the activities and is pleased to do so.
Huda has learned to take initiative – after Mohamed explained to her in Arabic the instructions for the games, she supervised and guided the children, and even initiated the game “Ahmed says”.