Family Circle - Little Ones Learning Remotely

The church in our Salvadoran community has a preschool.  Well, not exactly a preschool in the way we in the US think of a preschool.  It is called Footprints Family Circle and is designed for little ones with their grown-ups, from the time of pregnancy until the children go off to kindergarten.  During their first few years in elementary school, the children can come back to the Family Circle one day a week for "reinforcements" in reading and math.

The Family Circle is led by Karla, a young mom from the church who has received training in early childhood education.  She has the support of an experienced teacher who is her mentor and another teacher who is a recent college graduate with a degree in education.  During "normal times," The Family Circle meets 2 days each week at the church, plus a third day for reinforcement teaching.  The grown-ups include a group of moms, a couple of dads and some grandparents who are all remarkably dedicated.  When the pandemic caused everything in El Salvador to be shut down, the Family Circle had to close too.

Over the course of this academic year, we have received pretty good information about how students in elementary school through the university are coping with 100% virtual education in our community, and truthfully, it is going quite well.  As September rolled around, I wondered about the Family Circle.  September is usually a big month for the little ones, filled with patriotic activities, a party with folk dancing and traditional foods, and a parade in which the children dress up in costumes depicting their future careers.  As good fortune would have it, Karla sent me a message.  She was thinking we might be wondering what the Family Circle children were doing, and she sent me a few pictures which are included in this story.

Just like the big kids, the little ones have been learning at home.  Karla sends lessons electronically and talks to the parents via phone and outdoors.  She made and delivered a workbook to each student. The little ones do their work at little tables or sitting on laps in their homes, and send pictures to Karla.  Apparently the children even created their own Independence Day celebrations.  

While it certainly is not nearly as much fun for the children to do everything at home as it is to do it with their friends in the Family Circle, they and their parents seem to be taking their homework very seriously.  The friendship and mutual support which the grown-ups have for one another has really helped to sustain them during difficult times this year.  Some families have been sick with Covid-19 or other illnesses, and most of the families have struggled with economic realities and lack of sufficient food. 

Although the Lutheran churches in El Salvador have resumed small group worship, the Family Circle will finish out its year remotely.  And if they put together the home version of a graduation ceremony, we will be sure to ask them to send us a few more photos.


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