Happy New Year everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to 2016. We definitely are!
I wanted to take a second to share with you a little about our holidays as well as some exciting things happening in our ministry right now.
In early December, we had a team come visit us from my home church, FBC Pensacola. We always love having visitors, but it is extra special when it’s a team that are all so dear to me. They were a huge help getting our guest house set up! They also travelled up to one of our northern churches and helped out with our youth camp here at our church. We are forever grateful for the week we had with them.
Blog coming soon specifically about the guest house!
We were honored to have this sweet 2 year old in our home with us for a little while over Christmas. His name is Peter and he lives in an abandoned baby home run by a good friend of ours here in Nanyuki. If you’d like to see more about that ministry, please visit www.project82Kenya.org. He’s had a bit of a tough start to life in his short 2 years, but he is the sweetest, calmest, happiest little man.
He never let himself be left out. From day one he joined right in with my kids. I loved this for my kids too. I don’t want them to grow up in an environment that’s always comfortable, and not understanding how to love others. They took him in, shared their toys, and made me a proud Mama. When I told Adalyn that he’d be joining us for Christmas because he didn’t have a Mommy or Daddy to be with that day, her response was “Well, Mommy he can come stay with us for Christmas!”
We loved having Peter with us. Adalyn still talks about it and how she misses him. I do pray that the Lord continues to open my heart more for those that aren’t biologically mine, and that he’ll lead us to anything he wants for our family and home in the future.
School has now started and the year is off to a great start! We have some very exciting things happening throughout our school.
We have created a portfolio system in our ECDE (Early Childhood Development Education). We have been working for almost a year now on creating a new paradigm in the preschool. We are shifting from a basically all-lecture method, where kids sit, write and test to a hands-on, interactive learning environment. Last year we started a center time where kids can play with items such as cars, blocks, puzzles, play-dough and crayons for a portion of the day. They also started doing circle time in the morning.
We have now taken those changes and expanded it to the assessments. Instead of sitting for written exams each month, the teachers are engaging the students in one-on-one interactive assessments that are less pressure and more accurate for this age level. The portfolios are put together and already have about 90% of the assessments for the whole year! They allow for extra work and projects to be added in as time goes on. Our main goal for the portfolios is to show the progress and development of each student, instead of letter grades. The parents are able to come in at any point and see how their child is doing in any area and the progress they’ve made each month.
You guys, this is HUGE. I can’t even tell you how big this is. Andrew and I have been praying, planning, training, and a bit of stressing over this for almost a year now. This is what we have been leading up to. And I could not be more thrilled for how it’s going. The teachers are doing an amazing job incorporating the portfolios, and we have only just finished week 2. This is definitely more work for them, but they are taking it on like pros!
We had a meeting with the parents last Saturday introducing the portfolios so they would know what to expect this year. It was an extremely important meeting because this is not normal for a Kenyan school, in fact I don’t know another school in our area who does something like this. And parents are used to the old method, where students are ranked and tested from age 3. It can be extremely terrifying and discouraging for a small child. The meeting was great, and I was so proud of the teachers. They stood in front of the parents so proudly and confidently and the parents overall are really excited for this change.
I believe that these changes in our preschool are going to be huge, and that it will affect our school overall, increasing our enrollment. We are also hoping to start making some of these changes within the primary later in the year.
We have also created a new daycare at our school. We have moved rooms to have a larger space. And we are now allowing in babies. We have several teachers and other staff in our ministry who have babies that they were having to leave at home with a hired nanny, which they were not happy with. So a big reason for this daycare was to assist them. We’ve made it very nice found many baby items to put in the room. There’s also toys that are good for babies up to age 3. We want this to be a learning environment, targeting the developmental goals that prepare them for school.
Special thanks to our December team from FBC Pensacola who brought over lots of items for this daycare! They are being used and loved!
Thank you for rejoicing with us in all the exciting things happening here at Mt. Kenya Baptist School. We look forward to 2016!