I set out for the morning of training with a pep in my step. I was giddy at the opportunity to positively impact and shift the way teachers in this camp approach and view early childhood education. While bumping along on our 25 minute drive to the camp, looking out of the car window at herds of camels, I thought hard about my ice-breaker and the activities I thought might be the most engaging and informative for the women. Though, being that is was day one of training, I knew I had to first and foremost ensure that the women understood the importance of early childhood education, child development, and even more so, the importance of active and play-based learning for early child development. I wanted the teachers to understand that they could no longer simply stand at the front of the classroom and have children repeat or sing letters, numbers or colors out loud. No. At Little Ripples, teachers are to be guiding the children in small groups and focusing on fostering imagination, fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving, ability to self-regulate, and peaceful play with others. But again, I wanted the women to understand WHY this was important, and through the iACT training approach, they learn the “why” by doing.
And so, for our first day of Little Ripples training, as a group of 35, we played games that focused on peace-building and unde