On May 10, 2005, I traveled to Huánuco to present the research on Early Childhood development that Roxana and I have been working on. I was very lucky to have Caroline Fraser traveling with me. She was going to give the Suzuki Philosophy course. The students would attend philosophy in the morning and then they would go on with my early childhood development course in the afternoon. It was very useful to have the philosophy course to complement mine, since Caroline could transmit Dr. Suzuki’s message and therefore the participants could appreciate and understand my course much better.
Of the ninety people who attended the course, approximately forty were men. Many of the participants took their children along with them to the class. Many came from far away places; some from Huancayo and two from Cuzco. Many were classroom teachers or music teachers and some were just parents. We also had several preschool teachers who were very interested in improving their work and finding out about early childhood development.
When Roxana and I have this kind of diversity amongst the participants, we are always ready to change our program to adapt to the needs of the majority. We change certain activities so that most of the teachers will be able to apply them to their age group, according to their needs. We also show one activity in different levels so that the participants understand the goal of the activity over a period of time. For example, the activity in which we work with colored scarves. We did this first with the babies and then with children aged two to four, showing the different goals according to the age group.
We had demonstration classes with mothers and babies during three consecutive days and we gave the teachers observation sheets. At the end, we had questions and comments about the class.
We explained lesson plan to the teachers with both the set activities and the ones that can vary. In the latter group there are some suggested songs and others that each teacher chooses according to his/her own experience. At the end of the demonstration, the Huanuco teacher Gladys Sanches de Ortega, presented her students in an activity. She had taken the course during the Suzuki festival in January. It was very moving to see how much she has achieved in such a short time. We could see that through her creativity and freedom this teacher had greatly improved the activity, which had been presented during the first course she had attended. This is not the first time that this has happened, and it gives us great satisfaction every time. The most beautiful part of her presentation was that the babies who attended were holding their mother and father’s hands and they all sang along together. Now Gladys will be the pioneer of early childhood development in Huánuco and the students from our course will be able to attend her classes and learn from her wonderful work.
The course also included music and movement activities, some of which were directed and others were free. The teachers that had their babies with them practiced holding them. Others simply used balloons instead of babies. The interest of the students increased every day as well as their enthusiasm. We left Huánuco hoping to come back soon and enjoy the good results.
Translated by Marisol Stiglich