Last term we started a project called “Communities Around the World”. Each we week we learned about a different country of the world, looking at their food, language, culture etc. I has been a lot of fun both for the students and me! With the amazing age of technology we live in I was able to Google pictures and find YouTube video clips for them to watch each week (learning the language, animals, various sports/games, modes of transportation) which made it all the more real to them. Occasionally we also had some yummy treats in class to correspond with the country we were learning about. I think the country that impacted them the most was Kenya. Probably partly because it is also an African country. When we were looking at various pictures of the housing there we came across some pictures of children living in poverty in and around dumps and piles of garbage. This really impacted my kids! One of them said, “I want to cry! Can they come live at my home?” It was so touching to see that they were wanting to help. The next week instead of learning about a new country I asked them if they wanted to help out some of the poor people like those in Kenya. They were very excited to do this! So we went on the World Concern website and looked at their gift catalogue. We talked about the different ways we could help out and then I let them choose some ‘gifts’ to purchase. I was very impressed with their choices. They chose to send some kids to school (“so they can get good jobs and get money for food”), a vegetable garden for a family (“vegetables make you healthy and strong”) and some Bibles (“so they can learn about Jesus”). As we had a little money left at the end we also got 2 soccer balls.
I have to admit I was a little surprised with how excited they were about the whole thing. I have done the “gift catalogue” in the past with my students and never had such enthusiasm before. After thinking it through I realized it must have been because the previous classes had never “seen the need” before. Showing my students the pictures of people in poverty really opened their eyes to the world. Unlike cynical adults, children still believe everything should be “fair” and children (people) living in poverty just “isn’t fair”. Even though they are only 6 or 7 years old, I think they realized how much they are blessed to have a home, and good food and be able to go to school. They were excited to “share” some of their good fortune with others because it made things more “fair”.Even though I work with children every day, I often forget that they aren’t just “kids” they are little people and they can share and contribute to the world around them now, not just when they are grown up. Sometimes we can even learn from their simple child-like thoughts – ‘there is a problem, how can we fix it?’ I’m glad that although I’m there teacher, I’m still able to learn from them! J After all Jesus said, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”