~~It’s a hot, sunny Sunday here at Open Arms and everyone is exhausted! This week was great with several children’s birthdays celebrated topped off with a day off of school because it was the South African public holiday Human Rights Day. In honor of the long weekend, we took the girls to the beach on Friday and the boys on Saturday which was a blast. We played in the sand, jumped over waves, collected seashells, and looked for starfish in the tidal pools and reefs. It was such a lovely outing for the children especially when you have this beautiful weather. Today we are now all tired and are resting after our busy weekend. We had a braai or as we would say a South African barbeque and it was delicious! It was nice to eat outside for a change and I had a lovely picnic with the little boys in the grass. The school week went by very fast this week. Two volunteers joined us two weeks ago named Mark and Amy from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Amy has been especially beneficial to me in the classroom. She has an amazing background in early childhood development and she even taught special education for a few years which is just what my two boys’ need! She and I have been team teaching and it seems to be working very well. The boys are so opposite that it is nice for them to get the individual attention they deserve. We have strayed away from the homeschool curriculum quite a bit and now the boys are focusing more on the basic skills instead of doing worksheet after worksheet. On Thursday, I wanted to do something special with them so Amy and I did a small Human Rights Day demonstration by acting out what is fair and unfair which lasted about five minutes until they lost focus. Luckily, we had another fun activity of painting the boys hands and feet to make prints to hang up in our classroom. They both loved it and Sanda was especially hypersensitive to the feeling of paint on his skin. Jeanien came on Thursday and it was nice because for once we both felt like we could relax during our meetings as we finally have the boys in a good, stable place. She and I discussed the possibility of having the boys start a four day week after holiday which implies that the boys would have a regular school day on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays but on Wednesday they would take a break from the traditional classroom setting and work on skills, trade, and crafts. Ideas that were tossed around were working in the garden, cleaning, cooking, going to a farm, yard work, and other local field trips to help them not have the meltdowns throughout the week. We don’t want to break them out of a routine, but simply add this day to help them get through the week calmly and motivated. I am so pleased with the state that the boys are in and I look forward to working closer with Amy to learn more of how to handle the boys. I have a busy week ahead, but everyone knows to just keep going because the kids have holiday next week which will definitely bring some amazing adventures!
This week's picture is of four of the younger girls modeling their dresses which were made by the "Little Dresses" group through my Church - Delafield Presbyterian. Aren't they adorable and so proud to have something new that is their own. The children had so much fun picking out a new dress. The additional dresses brought over will be taken to children in the Transky area of the Eastern Cape, probably the poorest area of our region.