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June 2015 Update

Dear Friends of Matènwa,

On May 18th, MCLC celebrated Haitian Flag Day with a great parade and many fun activities. To start the day, students proudly donned their red and blue hats and sang the national anthem at a flag-raising ceremony.

They, along with their teachers and parents, later proceeded with an hour-long parade, joyfully walking the roads of Matènwa while singing popular patriotic hymns. This celebration always brings the community together and is a great opportunity to educate and remind people about the history and importance of the flag through songs, dance performances, plays, poetry, and speeches. Children and adults alike had a great time commemorating the 212th anniversary of the flag.

Experimenting in the Garden with Rice!

The 6th graders are currently studying and experimenting with rice, which is a favored staple food in Haiti, not usually grown in Lagonav. They are responsible for watering and maintaining the plants. So far, they have learned that rice is a cereal, part of the grass family that yields edible grains. They are discovering through their experiments what it takes to grow the food they eat and like.

Now offering Early Childhood Development Training!

From May 19th to the 25th, we received a special training by Hands to Hearts International on early childhood development (0 to 3 years old), facilitated by an organization called Alliance for Children. More than 20 people participated in the training, including 5 trainees from Kenscoff, a town about 6 miles to the southeast of Port-au-Prince. These 5 and 7 of our own then completed the training of trainers program. These 12 will be spreading this training across Haiti.

The training covered the four major pathways of early brain development: language, social and emotional, thinking, and physical development . We learned that early stimulation and positive interactions with parents and other caregivers set the stage for how children learn, grow, and act towards others. For example, simple activities such as talking, singing, reading, praying or repeating back a baby’s cooing and gurgling sounds can encourage early language development that will enable him or her to perform better in school. Through these interactions and other stimulations, children also develop their social and emotional skills. They learn how to be self-confident, manage their emotions, calm themselves, share and collaborate with others, and show kindness to others. It was also very interesting to learn that massaging a baby can have a positive effect on overall development and health. Regular massages can help babies bond with their parents, help them sleep better, alleviate constipation, and even boost their ability to fight off germs.We look forward to sharing our new knowledge with other teachers and community members in and beyond our school network.

Chris W. Low, Executive Director FOM Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

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