Arrived in Haiti on the 7th of April with 185 pounds of luggage filled with Montessori materials. I used my AAdvantage miles to purchase a business class ticket because it enabled me to bring 3 suitcases at 50lbs each and two pieces of hand luggage. So the only cost to the Foundation was US$110 to issue the ticket. I was glad the airlines did not weigh the hand luggage! The materials will be used to introduce the Primary school math materials, which is the next step up from pre-school math.
A small step towards Primary School Education
The training center of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Haiti is currently conducting a seminar over the course of three week-ends, to introduce Montessori preschool teachers to the math materials used at the primary level. For years parents have been asking “What do we do with our children when they finish preschool?” Although our intention is to eventually open primary schools, we have other pressing matters, such as completing the teacher training center as well as continuing support to the existing Montessori preschools. The current seminar is a small step towards making the primary school a reality by preparing teachers who can teach at that level. Conducting the seminar is Mrs Patricia Gwin from the USA.
15 Haitian teachers from 9 schools attended a two week In-service training held at the training center of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Liancourt by Carol Guy-James Barratt, assisted by a US-volunteer. We were especially glad to have teachers from the two schools in Leogane. Their schools are almost back to normal after being completely destroyed by the earthquake. Also attending were teachers from Mais Gate, Croix des Bouquets and Jacmel, as well as teachers from the two schools in the Liancourt area. In September 2014 there will be two new Montessori programs starting in Gonaives. The teachers who are going to teach in these new schools were also present. The teachers made language materials and planned activities for their classes starting in September 2014 as part of their In-service training.
Graduates of our reopened Montessori teacher-training center in Liancourt, Haïti celebrated their achievement with family and friends on Saturday 2nd August, 2014.
We expect that these new teachers will provide quality education to approximately 400 children in the coming school year. It was an emotional moment at the end, when the graduates had to say goodbye to each other. After one year of living at the Montessori center they will now return to their respective towns and villages, some to work in existing schools, some to start new Montessori classes.
Carol Guy-James Barratt reports from Haïti :
On Friday 19th September, I was happy to visit two schools in Gonaives, to help them to plan for starting their Montessori programs. Between these two schools, a total of 103 children will attend – one more victory, since teachers from both schools were trained in Liancourt. Not only have these young women found jobs, they can change the future of 103 children this year alone, and in many more years to come.
in Liancourt to become Montessori teachers. We take pride in each additional teacher trained, since it means more children will benefit from quality education and a chance for a better future.
There are moments in Haïti where I feel that I could totally give up. Moments when I wonder if I am making a difference. The drive from Port-au-Prince to Liancourt is evidence of everything that is wrong. There is garbage on the sides of the road, the smell of hot oil and charcoal fires permeates the air, as roadside vendors continue to use wood or charcoal to prepare food, adding to further deforestation by cutting trees for fuel.
As I drive along the road weaving in and out of the heavy and totally unruly traffic, glad that the car is air conditioned, and I do not have to breath in the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes of most cars, I can’t help but notice the amount of children on the streets who are engaged in some kind of work such as carrying buckets of water, washing cars, vending, or just begging. I feel overwhelmed.
Three hours later, I arrive at the training center of the Peter-Hesse-Stiftung in Haïti and my despair begins to wear off as I enter the gates of a very different environment. I have a meeting with the staff. We plan the syllabus for the school year, and afterwards the conversation turns to the earthquake and the hurdles involved in building the center. On of the teachers talk about how much the trees that we planted have grown. “Let’s take a picture”. She stands next to the citrus trees, and I take a picture. My frustration diminishes some more.
The next morning, I awake, and the student-teachers are watering the plants.
I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these environmentally friendly practices would be passed on to the children they will teach.
Later on that day I drive to Gonaives to visit the two new schools that started this year October 2014.
I see the children working and I am humbled, and I think “Those little ones are like the trees. It will take some time, but we will eventually see the results.”
I reminded myself that this year alone we have added 103 new children to the programme.
I guess we can’t solve all the problems, but we can help to make a difference in the lives of many.