The first week of service learning at Jessie Keet Pre-Primary School was very overwhelming and yet also motivating. I observed a community where children are in great need of love and affection because they do not seem to get it anywhere else. Most of the children are raised in single-parent households. Their parent(s) work hard during the day to provide for the family and then they are too tired at night to give the children the attention and love that they need. This leads to the fact that the children behave in ways to attract attention to themselves. They will run around, shout or treat each other violently, like hitting each other, pulling hair and making nasty comments. The teachers have classes with over 30 children in a class and this makes it difficult for one teacher to control all the children. The children will not always listen to their teacher. It is very chaotic. Overall the school seems to function well, with a clear routine in place. During this first week I was mainly asked to observe . There are many positive aspects about Jessie Keet. The school has a set routine for when the children eat, sleep, use the bathroom, play and learn. This provides structure to the day’s proceedings and it helped to make me feel more at ease. One of the first things that made me feel happy and comfortable was the fact that some of the children in each class ran towards me to hug me. This proves that it is a loving environment where children feel free to show their emotions. The way in which the children who were only five years old brought back their plates after eating and neatly stacked them, proved to me that there is discipline in the school. This is very positive because it shows that the children have respect for their teachers and that they listen to the instructions of their teachers. A specific incident that made me feel very happy and positive was when I was sitting on the carpet with two girls, Jamelia and Amy, in the class of four year olds. It was about 09:00 and they had just finished eating their porridge. Amy was busy building a puzzle with a train on but she was deliberately putting the wrong pieces in the wrong places in order to attract my attention. I knew this because I watched her building her puzzle beautifully just before I sat down with them. She would continue putting the wrong pieces together and then call me to look at her and to see that she is doing it wrong. Before I could do anything to help Amy or to give her attention Jamelia said to her, “Nee man, dit kan nie so aangaan nie”. She took out all the pieces that Amy had built incorrectly and helped Amy to build the puzzle correctly, without taking over. She pointed out the places where Amy should put the pieces. I praised them for the fact that they worked together and helped each other. Before the encounter I was feeling overwhelmed by all the children running around and playing with all the different toys. I was also worried that the children do not get enough attention because they only have one teacher. During the encounter I was surprised by the fact that Amy pretended as if she cannot build the puzzle, that I saw her building perfectly just seconds earlier. I was also pleasantly surprised with the caring way in which Jamelia helped her. After the encounter I felt comforted and relieved because it seems as if the children look out for each other. I also felt happy because of the caring nature of the children that I had just witnessed. This incident contributed to the positive feeling that I have of Jessie Keet Pre-Primary School. There are also some negative things about this site. The children are very violent with each other and they will even hit me and pull my hair to get attention. The teachers also get frustrated with the children and will easily shout at them, pull on their arms and even send them out of class to go to another class (with younger children). There are a lot of children and this leads to the fact that they...
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