I had to share these videos I took a few weeks ago of a preschool class singing not only their school song but also the Namibian National Anthem. They are very proud to be able to share their Namibian songs with me. I am attempting to carry on something of a "Fulbright Tradition" of helping the teachers at the Future Professor preschool once a week. Two previous Fulbright spouses, Janet and then Joy, volunteered at this school before me. I am not an official preschool teacher but I try to sing some songs, play games, and read stories to the children and we work on colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. This preschool caters to lower income families - many of them are newly arrived in Windhoek from rural areas/villages and some of the children do not speak English very well yet and need to learn English before entering the regular school system. The teachers at the preschool love to have Americans come read to and interact with the children so they can experience "English" from a native English speaker. Teacher Sussy (Susie) is in the background and instructs them to hold their heads up high while singing.
This preschool is actually in "half" of a house - the house and yard have been divided with walls - and they have two classrooms (in the two bedrooms) plus a main room with a playground in the front yard. The teachers are very dedicated and allow the children to attend when funds are short and the families are not able to pay. Some months the teachers have even gone without getting paid. They hope to increase the number of students and have enough paying students to cover the cost of those who have trouble paying the fee.
Just this week there were three new students in this class - triplets!! - two girls and a boy who just moved here from Angola (just north of Namibia) and don't speak a word of English yet. They speak only Portuguese (Angola was a colony of Portugal) but one of the other students in the class is also from Angola and she is able to translate some of the lesson for them. The teachers say it won't be very long before they will start to speak English - especially on the playground where the fun game this week was racing tires - the kids enjoy rolling old tires down the hill in the front yard when they aren't on the playground equipment.
The next few weeks will be great fun for me as we have moved into animal themes. This week was reptiles and amphibians. I read a book about snakes and all the students talked about how dangerous snakes are - here in Namibia most snakes can kill you in less than 3 minutes! They had seen pictures of people touching snakes and holding them around their necks and did not think that was very smart. I had to explain that in other parts of the world there are snakes that are not poisonous and some people even keep them as pets (while also stressing that they should never EVER touch a snake here in Namibia - yikes!)
Coming into the preschool always is a great experience as the kids hug you and greet you with "Good morning Teacher Kelly!" The students and teachers often ask about Teacher Joy and Teacher Janet as they are greatly missed here at this little school.