By Heather Oliver, Director of Education, Village of Eden Uganda
If you believe that big surprises come in small packages, let me take you along to experience a little bit of the joy and excitement that is Baby Class.
Every year, I get to welcome a new class of students at Village of Eden Christian Primary School. They are wide-eyed, curious, and sometimes fearful, carrying backpacks nearly as big as they are. These teensy three-year-olds, with the occasional two-and-a-half-year-old, begin their educational journey as they enter what we call “Baby Class.” After a few days, most of the children have lost their nervousness and settled into the routine with excitement about their new adventure.
On your visit to Baby Class, you would see children having experiences that might seem basic, but are truly transformative. First, you’d see children playing in our “exploration room,” which might look like a playroom, but it is so much more. Most of the students in this class have come from very hard situations, such as malnutrition, which often cause delays in learning. Our staff provide these children a good place to play, as they work on building language and problem-solving skills.
Next, you’d notice a whole lot of play-doh or clay, typical playthings in the preschool classroom. But, while they’re enjoying the delightful “gooeyness,” students are building muscles in their fingers and hands, which help with improving fine motor skills and forming letters and shapes. You’d see children learn about books, maybe even seeing and holding a book for the very first time. In this area of Uganda, most families are illiterate. That’s one reason why starting school at this foundational level offers many opportunities.
You’d see children using crayons, pencils, markers, paints, and other media to create and explore. You’d watch children sing songs and learn dances and build their muscles in physical education. Most importantly, you’d get to watch as children hear God’s Word and are taught who God is. These young children learn that God loves them more than anything. As the students grow in their knowledge and understanding, they take this learning home to their families. This gives us the hope of seeing transformation in the home, which will flow over into the community and, eventually, wider areas of Uganda.
Remember all that play-doh? Thinking back to the children playing with play-doh always makes me smile because it reminds me that God has entrusted these little ones into our hands. Like the play-doh, they are ready to be molded and transformed. From that transformation, you never know what surprise God has in store for that little one’s future!
We have 10 new students in this year’s Baby Class, all in need of a sponsor! Would you help us sponsor this class of three-year-olds and invest in their lives spiritually, physically, and educationally? To sponsor a child, click the button below!