A really productive last day with all the teachers providing lots of hands on teaching activities.  They loved our books that we took and we read lots of stories together.  They were very excited that they could keep the books because they don’t have anything like this in India.

When the training was finished all the CRS teachers sang and danced for us which was lovely.  We all received a little present and it was very sad to say goodbye to them.  Mrs Gupta was very pleased to know that she had got ‘best work’!

Then we went to have tea with the bishop.  It was extremely grand and we all had our photograph taken with him and he gave us gifts too.

So now we are back at the hotel to start our packing.  The journey home will be almost twenty four hours long!

Miss Gill will see you all on Tuesday and Mrs M will come in to see everyone on Friday.

Thank you all for all your comments and interest.  We have loved reading all your messages and answering your questions.  See you soon! xx

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What a beautiful day…

We got up early this morning and drove out of the city for about three hours.  It was nice to get some fresher air and to see the smaller towns and villages which are very beautiful and completely different from Kolkata.

Just north of Diamond Harbour we stopped to see a school that Rig is setting up here.  It was India’s  national day today so the children were all dressed up and, after they had given us flowers and sprinkled us with petals as we came in, there was a ceremony with the raising of the flag and singing the national anthem.  They also had a big picture of the man who wrote India’s constitution- must look that up when we get back!

The school children took turns to come and sing or dance for us.  The dancers were amazing, I think South Darley children would love some Indian dance lessons.  Then they took us on a tour of the village and into people’s houses to see some of the ways that they earn money- you can see some of them in the pictures.  Everyone was so friendly and the village was so quiet and beautiful that I think we could have stayed for longer.

We drove back to the harbour and had a boat trip around the Bay of Bengal for a couple of hours.  We saw lots of dolphins although they move so quickly that they’re difficult to capture on camera!

Happy Friday!

Good morning lovely South Darleyers,

We’re leaving soon to go to see Rig’s project at Diamond Harbour.  We might not be back to blog again before you go home today so we just wanted to say thank you for following what we’ve been doing this week and for all your fabulous comments and questions- we’ve loved hearing from you and we hope you have felt part of what we’ve been doing.  Hastings is a very special place and we should be very proud to have a link with them…they are all South Darley’s children too.

We hope you keep looking at the blog over the weekend because we’re still here and doing things, including our second day of working with the teachers tomorrow.  We are very much looking forward to seeing you all though,

love from Miss Gill and Mrs M xxx

PS We shall be looking at ‘celebrating our week’ later to read about what you have all been up to.  Please could the Hastings children and Mrs Gupta have best work this morning- they’ve been working really hard and definitely deserve it!

Our last day in school :(

Sorry we haven’t blogged much today, the wifi has been a bit rubbish and it’s not great now so if this post doesn’t make sense then it’s because of that and nothing at all to do with how tired we are!  It is also having trouble uploading these photographs so we’ll have to show you the rest when we get back.

Today was our last day with the Hastings children and we tried lots of the phonics games from the training that we did yesterday with the teachers.  We took Jen with us (you can see her in one of the photos) – she works at Derby University and she knows a lot about helping to teach people how to make their mouth actually say the right sounds to speak a foreign language.  Bengali speakers like our children have real difficulty making ‘c’ and ‘f’ sounds and they don’t have the ‘b’ and ‘d’ sounds so they sometimes struggle to tell the difference between them.

The children picked up the games very quickly and by the end of the morning we had got them making cvc words with magnetic letters and reading them.  They were very pleased with themselves and we were super proud of them too.

Then we blew up balloons and gave the children little gifts and had a bit of a party with them before we came home.  We were so sorry to say goodbye to them.  They are such brilliant children and we would love to bring them home with us to meet you because you’d love them too.  They asked us to sign their visitors book before we came away and we could see that they have only had four visitors all year since Miss Gill came last January so it’s no wonder they have found it all exciting this week.

When we came to Hastings on Tuesday there were some ladies with babies sitting on the pavement as we got out of the car and we gave them our lunches.  Today all the teachers we are with gave us their lunches to give away because the families at Hastings are so much poorer even than the slum schools they are working with.  I hope all our families had a feast with the sandwiches and cake after we’d gone!

After school our driver took us back to the Cathedral where the Relief Services office is.  We went to look at the Nari Dana Project which is a little workshop where they look after women who need to learn a skill so that they can work and earn some money.  Often girls don’t get to go to school here so they might not be able to read or write but they are learning how to make beautiful crafts that they can sell.  We also called in to see the young adults with learning difficulties who have a workshop behind the CRS office.  They were making candles and beautiful paper bags which are also sold and CRS make sure that the people who have made them get a fair price for them.

Before we had dinner we went to look around New Market.  It’s the most amazing place!  It’s a huge building that is full of tiny stalls all crammed in one after the other selling spices, sarees, jewellery, pots, bags and pretty much anything else you can think of.  It is very crowded and very noisy and quite smelly with all the stall holders shouting and trying to make you come and buy their wares.  There are even more stalls around the streets outside the building and it was very exciting, especially in the dark!

We have to be up early tomorrow because we’re going to see another project that Rig is setting up that is a couple of hours drive away.  Hope you are all okay-  love from us both, night night! xx

CPD day 1

We’ve had a fab day talking to all the Indian teachers.  We’ve taught them phonics and maths today, showing them lots of fun activities for them to use when we’ve gone.  They were really keen and interested in everything we had to say and very interesting for us to hear how they do things.

On the way home we followed a truck with a clay model of a goddess which was being taken to the Ganges to be thrown in in a special ceremony.  The clay dissolves in the water and will be there to be taken out for the next festival- ultimate recycling!  Look how beautifully she’s been painted and dressed.

We’re off out for dinner- chat tomorrow! xx

Blankets and fun with maths

This morning we spent another lovely few hours with the Hastings children.  We took the first of the blankets with us and they looked fantastic wrapped in them.  We’ll take some more on Thursday and give some to Rig to give to families that he knows will need them.  We did some work on reflective symmetry which was quite entertaining when they don’t speak English.  It involved the two of us mirroring each other doing silly actions for quite a while….such a shame there are no photographs of that!  Then the children completed some symmetrical pictures and coloured them and checked them with mirrors and then we gave them squared paper and lots of sticky shapes and gems for them to make their own.  They worked at it for ages and were very pleased with what they made.  Even the tiny one and the lady who lives where the school is (she’s the one in the pink scarf) joined in and some of the older children made extremely intricate patterns that were perfectly symmetrical.

We used a big dice with pockets to play some number games which was fun.  We kept making the numbers bigger and Bishal, who is very good at maths, could go right up into the hundreds numbers.

After dinner this evening all the teachers we came with have sat together to put the final touches to the first day of training we are doing with the CRS teachers tomorrow.  We think they are all amazing and we hope we can help them to do even more with their amazing children!