Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life skills classes at Shimoni Junior Academy

Like children all over the world, the kids in Shimoni love to sing. They like reggae and songs about Africa. They enjoy songs they can clap and dance to. And, if they’re students at Shimoni Junior Academy, they like songs about plasters (band-aids, for those of us from North America).

GVI has recently started teaching a life skills class at Junior Academy. Last week, I had the pleasure of co-teaching a class on health and safety. We focused the class on staying safe in the home and village. We talked about how to avoid cuts, scrapes and burns and what to do if you get one. After explaining how to clean a cut, we showed the students how to apply plasters. I’ve never seen so many children with pretend cuts, or so many “doctors” stepping up to treat their injured patients. There were plasters everywhere – on arms, legs, feet and hands. Students with one plaster quickly found another “cut” that needed treatment, and students who didn’t have a plaster yet weren’t shy about letting you know it. We were quite the sight, I’m sure!

Hamisi explains to students how and when to use a plaster  

The students at Junior Academy are young – many are still in kindergarten classes. Remembering the steps in first aid can be a real challenge. Teaching them about life skills in a way that is meaningful and relevant can be difficult. This is where the plaster song came in. After we finished applying real plasters, we continued to apply pretend ones, using our song to remember the steps:

Peel plaster, peel, peel plaster.
Take plaster, take, take plaster.
Put plaster, put, put plaster.

What a blast! By the end of the class, we had the students talking about what to do if a friend gets hurt and who to call for help. My favourite moment was when one of the older boys said the younger students could ask him for help if someone is hurt. He was so right and I was so proud.

Carrie and the students from Shimoni Junior Academy.  

I spent a chunk of time this afternoon planning for our next life skills lesson. This week, we’re going to talk about “keeping it clean”. I can already hear the songs about sweeping the floor and picking up litter. And I can already see the smiling faces of the students as I walk in the door. They will greet me with “Good afternoon, Madam,” and another amazing lesson will begin.

Carrie Anderson - Volunteer