An Amani Baby Cottage Preschooler!
Age: 4 years and 6 months.
Favorite Color: Red.
Favorite Preschool Activity: Coloring.
Favorite thing to do on the Playground: Go WAY high on the swing.
Pet Peeve: Loud noises.
Cute Factor: Out of this world.
Brian is a sweet, smart boy who is
Alright blog-reader, my hopes in writing this post is that you would feel as if you were here with Brian, experiencing a day in his life. So, before we get started, I think it’s essential that you get into character. Ready? Stand up, put your shirt on backwards, put your shoes on the wrong feet, spill a little bit (or a lot) of you lunch on your pants, run a couple laps around your house screaming “Auntie, Auntie!” as loud as you possibly can, and finally, to top it off, do your best impression of the facial expression shown below.
Okay, let’s begin.
6:30 AM: Wake up!
Not because Brian is forced to be up this early, but because he (and ALL his brothers and sisters) choose to be up at such an hour!
7:00 AM: Time for breakfast!
A normal breakfast for Brian consists of either bread smeared with peanut-butter and a glass of milk or a hard-boiled egg and a glass of milk.
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Free Play in the Cottage!
Brian can read books, play with toys, hang out with his brothers or just relax.
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE DAY! PRESCHOOL!
(Can you guess who’s writing this blog post? Yep, one of the Preschool Teachers!) So maybe Preschool isn’t the BEST part of the day, but it sure is fun! Brian enjoys Preschool and is usually one of the first to arrive at the school-room. Brian is relatively quiet (compared to some of the others), calm, sensitive and emotional. During free play, you’ll find him absorbed in some activity that exercises his creativity. He loves to color and paint, just not for too long though! He’s constantly jumping from one activity to another! You also may find Brian tucked away in a corner plunking out a tune on the xylophone. He’s a sucker for music (especially if it’s on an Auntie’s Iphone)! The
first hour of Preschool is centered around the academic side of things. The first half-hour consists of quiet (or sometimes not so quiet) free-play (books, coloring, blocks, water/sand play). Then during the second half-hour, Brian sits down with a group of three other students and an Auntie for focused learning time (letter, numbers, science, etc.).
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m: Snack Time!
What would any day be without a mid-morning snack? At 10:00, Brian has a mug full of hot porridge (very similar to Cream of Wheat or Malt-O Meal in the States). It’s a nutritious and filling snack for the kids. It’s actually pretty tasty too (especially if the Mamas mix in a spoonful of sugar)!
10:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.: Preschool Round Two!
By the time the clock strikes 10:30, Brian’s ready for a break from classroom work. From 10:30 to 11:10, Brian has recess! He runs; he jumps; he swings; he slides; he expends ALL of the pent-up energy that has been accumulating within him for the past hour and a half. Being studious, diligent and attentive is hard work for a four-year-old! Sometimes our outdoor-play involves organized circle games, cooperative games, relays, tag, hide-and-seek (their favorite game by far), but most of the time, the kids are ready to just be kids. So usually, we let them run wild. Some days they’re pirates sailing in a huge playground-shaped-pirate-ship away from a terrifying, formidable alligator (AKA an Auntie chasing children around, flailing her arms wildly while making strange, unidentifiable noises). Other times they’re dogs chasing a ball or airplanes zooming through the sky. They have fun, and I think it’s safe to say the Aunties have fun too!
At 11:10, Brian heads back inside for a half-hour of indoor-play. Different activities are set out for the kids to choose from. Some of the activities include: baby dolls and strollers, trains and motor-cars, coloring books, building blocks, play kitchen set, dress-up clothes, an indoor tree-house! Brian is usually one of the first to snatch up a baby doll, pop it in a stroller and speed around the play-room wreaking havoc on all the other activity stations! Only a little boy could turn something as sweet as a precious baby doll into a weapon of mass destruction! 11:40 to 12:00 is group time. Brian and three of his fellow preschool-mates, Danvir, Charlie and Christopher, come together with an Auntie to talk about their day, read a Bible story and go over the memory verse. Finally, last but (definitely!) not least, if the kids behaved well, they get a sweetie and sticker. I’m sure Brian would agree that it’s a good way to end a great day!
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Outdoor play!
Brian has another half-hour of recess before lunchtime.
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Lunchtime!
Bon appetit! Soups on! Come and get it! Brian heads to his Cottage for lunch, washes up, then sits down to enjoy his meal. A full day of playing and (hopefully) learning makes for a hungry boy. Brian or one of his brothers prays and then they chow
down. You’d be shocked by the amount of food Brian eats in one sitting. These boys can really put away the food!
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Nap time!
In my opinion, and I think most of you would agree, you can really never be too old for a daily cat-nap. Brian doesn’t argue or complain about laying down for a couple hours. He needs it, and although he probably wouldn’t admit it, he’s ready for a little rest and relaxation. Growing boys need their beauty sleep! I once heard that sleep is directly proportional to height. The more you sleep, the taller you’ll be. Fact or fable? Keep your eye on Brian, only time will tell.
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Snack time!
Brian wakes up to a snack of fresh fruit: pineapple, papaya or watermelon. He then dresses and gets ready to head outside to play.
3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Activities!
During this block of time, Brian joins in on the fun activities that Uncle Shalom, the Activities Director, has setup for the afternoon. Some days the kids splish and splash in huge basins filled with water. On other days, they take walks around Jinja town seeing
new sights. Once in a while, the kids get to go on a field-trip! Going swimming at the pool, seeing exotic fish at the aquarium or eating ice-cream at the local dairy are all things the kids really enjoy doing. Every so often, in lieu of activities, Brian has the opportunity to spend a special day with an Auntie, either on a 1-on-1 or an outing. A 1-on-1 is an hour in which one Auntie focuses their time, energy and love on one specific child. During a 1-on-1, Brian has the opportunity to decide exactly how the hour is spent. If he wants to play with cars, then finger-paint, and end with some sidewalk chalk, then so be it! Brian’s wish is Auntie’s command! An outing is a trip outside the Amani compound with an Auntie. An outing may be going for a walk to a chapati stand and getting something tasty to munch on. It could be going to town on a boda-boda to run errands (post office, grocery store, etc.) or heading to a local restaurant for a scoop of ice cream or a soda.
6:50 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.: Bedtime!
Brian’s day winds down and comes to a close soon after dinner. When he’s finished eating, he heads over to the bathroom to get squeaky clean before he gets into bed. After rinsing off in the shower, brushing his teeth and using the toilet, he hops into bed, cuddles up and soon after, drifts off into dreamland.
Amani is blessed to have been given the privilege of caring for sweet Brian. We pray that he grows to become a man of God who serves and loves his King and Creator with his entire being.
In Preschool, Brian is currently memorizing Psalm 23. Verse one says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The Lord is indeed Brian’s Shepherd, and although Brian may not have as many earthly possessions and comforts as most children, he beyond a shadow of a doubt has a Treasure of greater worth than the finest gold. The Guide, Overseer and Shepherd of his soul holds him close and has wonderful plans for his future. And that alone, a child-like relationship with Jesus Christ, is above and beyond what any of us could ever need, want or desire.