By Nicole Leach – 1 week volunteer
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary allowed us to experience the life of these semi-wild elephants, altough I as a teaching student from Ireland I was keen to experience a Thai classroom, in order to compare and contrast. We were split into groups allowing us to go to the local school in a neighbouring village as one of the afternoon activities which I thoroughly enjoyed. I and another one of our group, along with the staff decided to take on the youngest class in the school to begin, whose ages ranged from six-seven year olds.
Kerri guided us on the activities we would do with the children. The children were familiar with her as herself and interns visit the school weekly in order to teach the children English. We introduced ourselves and were greeted with a “Good afternoon teacher” polite response. We began with an alphabet activity, whereby we would hold cards with the different letters and an associating animal or object, which the children would then repeat in sync. We varied this game for a short time before moving onto a very involved “Hokey Pokey”, followed by another alphabet game.
The games evoked much enthusiasm which was warming to see, as it showed how Kerri was able to make English a fun learning experience, which will come as a huge benefit to these children in the future. After team two took the win it was back to the table for the children, Kerri had come prepared with printouts of basic English phrases such as, “My name is ____” and “I live in ______” , which encouraged the children to spell their names phonetically in English and accompany it with a picture. This activity took a little assistance which was nice as we were able to help each child and see their enthusiastic attempts at English lettering.
Following the youngest class we visited the next class up, whose age ranged from eight to nine. This came as a slightly more tricky task as they excited and very opinionated on Jades hair, which was styled with dreadlocks. We took the same approach as the previous class, introducing ourselves and using alphabet cards to get the ball rolling. The printouts Kerri had for this class involved numbers and a crossword as this class was more advanced. The children were well-able for these challenging handouts, which clearly shows Kerri’s work is paying off.
My experience of the school is one which I will remember forever. The work Kerri along with the long term interns is doing for this rural school is incredible. Unsurprisingly the school is underfunded, with a lack of teachers, however with the help from Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary these children are being given the opportunity to learn English which will help them immensely in the future, opening up opportunities for them within the village but also outside if they were to travel. Kindred Spirit also encourage volunteers to bring along stationary supplies, which are then given to the school, and will come as a huge help to these children in their learning.