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Teacher Training and Assessment

The teacher training is going great…Jocelyn and Melissa are really able to connect with teachers, despite the language barriers, showing them that learning is all about play and sometimes being silly!  Their passion and love for teaching young children really shines through and is very inspiring.  As the training continues the teachers are really opening up, enjoying the games – laughing, running, singing, and dancing as a group.  It’s really great to think that instilling this sense of playfulness in the Little Ripples teachers will carry through to how they interact with their next generation of young ones.


In the afternoon I helped out with the assessment side of things.  We asked a group of ~5 mothers to bring their Little Ripples aged children in for the interview team to practice going through the three-part questionnaire.  I think so far this has been the best part of the trip for me…Seeing the future Little Ripples students step into the space – they were so cute!!! Naturally, many of them were shy and a bit confused about what was going on – all the questions and the seeming formality of the whole process.  As I was trying to check one of the young girls for fever she kept shying away, crying (in Arabic), “I’m done with all this! I just want to take those Legos and go home!!”

One of the items asks the interviewer to notice if the child has a “blank look”.  Out of the four children that I worked with, one of the young boys displayed this.  As I would  guide him onto the scale, to stand along the height ruler, etc. he would slowly follow along, not really resisting at all, but slowly going through the movement.  His expression was absolutely blank – staring sometimes at me, sometimes past me, every now and then looking to his mother for approval.  When the translator asked him a few times if he was able to speak Arabic there was no visible reaction…He just looked around with his big eyes.  At first I thought this may be his reaction to being in a new situation, with all the attention directed at him.  But looking at how the other young children reacted, there was definitely something different about him.  Today as continue, I’m feeling excitement at meeting more of the future students but also a bit of wonder and sadness at how many more children I may have to check the “Yes” box for this question on the assessment.



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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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