By Áine McBride and Caroline McKenna
We can’t believe first week has gone already and we are heading into our second week at Jyothi Seva. Upon arrival we were greeted by Sister Catherine and given our timetable for the next few weeks. It’s a busy day and heavy timetable working with children of all ages and abilities. Unlike what we are used to, classes at Jyothi Seva are structured more like a secondary school. Children stay in their classroom and the teachers teach all subjects and year groups. It is a challenge for us as it is something we aren’t used to, although this is great opportunity to meet all the children at Jyothi Seva. In general we are finding the standard of education to be at a very high level. The children are very bright and some have great fluency in English. At Jyothi Seva the needs of each child vary and catering for all needs and abilities can be challenging but rewarding. There is a wide range of abilities and many children have a special education need, as well as the physical disability of being blind/ visual impaired. We will take it in our stride and together learn from the children as they learn from us.
Aside from lessons each day we are fed, watered and cared for so well. The Sisters make us tea without sugar and feels like a taste of home!!! They are so caring and welcoming in that way. As cliché as it may sound we definitely feel at ease whilst working here as everyone is so dear.
The second week approached us very quickly. Wow! What a week we had! Each day for us is very different. Áine spends most of her time working with the older children and Caroline works with younger pupils. Whilst working with the older children, Áine thoroughly enjoys creating science experiments for the children. They are finding her lessons to be great fun and super exciting. In particular making circuits and exploring properties of different materials. Caroline is finding nursery to be her most enjoyable experience. She loves spending time with the children in nursery, as they participate in rhymes, crafts, and all sorts. This week they were learning all about different fruits, and they were even lucky enough to taste some. The children and also Caroline found this lesson to be both fun and very tasty. There was a variety of fruit on offer, and even some exotic fruit that Caroline had not tried before. It was an experience for all. The children also love playing with the bubbles and there is lots of fun had by all as the children blow and catch the bubbles. This activity is also done during low vision class, where both Áine and Caroline work one-to-one with children that are visually impaired. Low vision classes are enjoyable and children have been working on developing their sight and fine motor skills by making loom bands. Just like the kids in Ireland, the children are going crazy for them. Children are also working on their ability to handwrite, and identify colours of objects. We feel that the low vision classes are beneficial for each child that attends. Through this extra-curricular class children can be stretched further and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Next week, we both are looking forward to continue teaching Irish songs, Irish dancing, playing tin whistle and making all our lessons fun.
As a whole the Sisters, teachers and children have been so friendly and welcoming. We are enjoying our journey and feel so lucky to be at Jyothi Seva. We cannot wait for week three, who knows what is ahead.