South Hebron Hills, Thu 17.11.11, Morning
Purpose: The fourth creative arts workshop of the year led by Eid under the direction of Suha.
Palestinians are building a road between Tawani and Yata. As is known, the internal road doesn’t reach the primary road – 317 – because the Civil Authority has not given permission for such a road to be built. Asphalt roads are only allowed within the village but even then this is not always so.
Because of the wintery weather, only 15 children were present in the preschool today. As has been true of previous weeks, a large portion of the children were new to the preschool, as attested to by their crying.
Workshop topic: Me and my body. Huda had already drawn a picture of a child on the board.
Workshop program: Huda read a story relevant to the topic and had prepared a doll to depict the main parts of the body. The materials: toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, Styrofoam balls, cloth, eyes, glue, color markers. Huda had cut up the pieces of cloth to dress the dolls. The construction of the dolls involved a number of steps and we worried that perhaps the project was a little too complicated for the children. We went over the steps with Huda and Eid at our previous meeting with them.
Eid and Huda read (told) the story. As has happened before, reading the story captured the attention of the children; even the children who were crying stopped doing so in order to listen to the story. Some of the children actively participated and answered questions. At our request, Huda actually read part of the story and not only told it – of course, there is a problem with their understanding of literary Arabic but it is still important to hear the story as it is written, in the rhythm and music of the story.
One of the things that needs to be taught as part of these activities is how to master complicated work in stages. Therefore, we broke up the activity into defined stages.
- We passed out the rolls of toilet paper and pipe cleaners which were to be the arms and legs of the dolls. Eid demonstrated and it was clear from the concentration of some of the children that they understood the instructions. We helped the children with assembling the arms and legs.
- We passed out the Styrofoam balls to be used as heads for the dolls and pipe cleaners to attach the head to the doll. Again we helped those children who needed assistance.
- We passed out pieces of material for the clothing and pipe cleaners to be used as belts. At this point, there was a sudden increase in interest – perhaps because the dolls now looked more person-like. Some of the children worked almost independently.
- In order to glue on the eyes, we convinced the children that it would be easier to do so by putting a little dab of glue on to one of their fingers rather than using a stick. Some of the children were able to glue the eyes without help.
- To finish the activity, we gave the children markers so that they could color hair on the heads of the dolls.
During the activity, we noticed that some of the children had already begun to play with the dolls. As a consequence, we suggested to Huda that she ask the children if they would like to take the dolls home. With no hesitation, the children said ‘yes’! It was clear that the enthusiasm for the dolls was greater than that for our previous activities, which included creating different types of pictures.
Conclusion of the project: The children helped us clean up the class room, picking up pieces of the materials that had fallen on the floor. There is much room for improvement in awareness of environmental cleanliness. We left with the feeling that some of the children are beginning to consider us as friendly adults. Perhaps there will be less crying when we come next time.
Pictures from the project (Judy):
After the children left, we sat, drank coffee and tea, and ate cake while discussing the activity, what we learned from it, and the next project. The next project will take place on Thursday, December 1. The topic will be the winter season.
Summary regarding ourselves: Much satisfaction and a feeling that something is developing here – the beginning of recognizing the value of developing learning skills before school entry.