By Darcy Howard, a member of the SkillCorps India Feb. 2017 team

What an amazing week it has been. We have almost completed our first week at SOREM. It has been very fun but also difficult. I have found the cultural differences to be the most difficult learning curve. Coming from a multidisciplinary play based centre where we incorporate all of our activities into play and only do table top work for a small portion of our sessions, I have found it challenging to see the kids here only doing table top work with little to no movement or play breaks.  I have realized this is a cultural difference, it seems that they value sitting and attending from a young age where as at home I find our values are more on incidental teaching and finding motivation through the child’s desires.  It has taken me a few days to switch my thoughts around to making our goals work while incorporating their values.  

Our team has come up with some great goals during our two-week stay. It seems we have all had some difficulties seeing the young children sit quietly for such an extended period of time. Manding has been our top priority. We are training the teachers on how to encourage the children to request for items or activities they desire. This has been so exciting! It was amazing to see the teachers’ reactions when the children started requesting for items. We have been able to incorporate manding through all the activities during the day, which I am very excited about. I feel that with incorporating manding we are able to listen to their values while giving the children more of a voice. I am excited to see what the next week brings as this week has been so amazing!

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