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Smiles that Melt Your Heart

By James Pernas 9 months ago
Categories Manuel Antonio

The last 2 weeks have seen a significant change in the way GVI Quepos operates and implements English and other studies to the children of El Cocal. The staff at our base decided to trial a new course which implements Social emotional learning (SEL) with a creative based project called “Sing me a story”. This has been used before in the United States with outstanding results, as it allows the children to express themselves through song and creative writing.

As a team, we harness the power of “sing me a story” and adapt it to suit all the needs and ages of the children in Cocal. We discovered that the children really enjoyed and wanted to learn English, so we have dedicated a whole day to just learning English. On the other days the children develop their own stories and then have them uploaded to partners website “Sing Me a Story” so that they can be added to music and played back to them. Each week will follow a social emotional learning theme. For example, next week’s theme is Friendship, so each of the children’s stories should reflect our group discussions about this topic. We have noticed since working in Cocal that friendships and respect among peers really is in short supply, which is why we are currently making such an effort to improve this and is something all of us here are very passionate about.

We have one very special day each week and that is Musical Fridays. We are very blessed to have the help of a well distinguished musician who has a large amount of experience in working with children from challenging upbringings and has seen first-hand what a huge difference music can make to children. It is such a pleasure to watch how excited and happy it makes the children when our musician just simply plays the guitar and sings. I am able to see how focused it makes them and really sets them up for creating a good group song with true meaning.

One personal highlight from the last week was young boy Isacc who had created a drum from a trash bottle he had collected on the beach and had put some string around the neck so he could carry it around. He literally would not put the drum down and his smile lit up the entire room and you could see just how proud he was of himself and the sense of satisfaction he got from this will stick with me for a long time and it really reminded me why I do what I do.

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