November 20, 2008

Planning the end of year celebration for children's classes

I am realizing that planning for an event is something that needs to be described to others because people wonder afterwards, "How did you put this together?!", and it seems simple to me but difficult to them. I realize, also, that these moments are historic and may be looked upon as setting the stage for entry by troops. So many developments occur from week to week that if I don't write down some of it from time to time, we will forget many precious details that come only with the embryonic growth of something before it is born.

This idea came to me over a month ago when reading the Kenyan Baha'i book for children's class -- it suggests having an end of year celebration. It felt necessary to demonstrate to the parents and neighborhood at least a taste of what the children and junior youth have been taught and what they are learning in the classes, even though for months we were barely able to call ourselves a class. I went to the mothers who are involved in Delft and asked them what they thought -- they thought it was a great idea! From there I started writing down ideas for a simple program. At this time, the CGC informed me that Delft will be a focus of the upcoming IPG; it was at this point that i wrote up a detailed report of what is currently happening there and a few things I would need for the celebration -- like a representative of the Assembly to welcome everyone in Xhosa and Afrikaans in addition to English.

The program consists of opening prayers and songs, acting out a story, reciting the holy words, singing and dancing, receiving a certificate and gift, closing songs and serving refreshments. Games will naturally occur afterwards (soccer, dodge ball, relay races and net ball). This process requires review of the lessons, having our last month of classes be to review and practice the songs and holy words, and practicing acting out the story. I also need to create an order to the songs so that they are grouped in a way that flows when sung. It was important to choose a song that just the 3-5 year olds will sing, and something special that the jr. youth will present, in addition to the 6-10 year olds because they make up the bulk of the students and program.

In terms of the paperwork involved, last week I started creating a certificate that will be copied onto parchment paper and handed to the student with their name written on it. The certificate has two quotes from the Baha'i Writings about children being the future of a community and full of spiritual potential within them. I decided to make the invitations by hand -- this felt more personal and unique for each family who will receive one. They mention the children growing into PEACE blossoms, PEACE being the acronym for Practicing Excellence of character And Conduct that is Exemplary.

Constant consultation with the one mama, Nangamso, who helps on a weekly basis has been essential to the development of this process. I had made a list of ideas for food, but after consulting with her, it became clear that some of them were impractical. It was Nangamso who came up with the idea for the Xhosa children to perform their traditional dances and songs in addition to what they are learning in class. After she showed me their songs and dancing, I felt full of excitement because it is a sign that the community of interest is taking ownership of the celebration rather than me just imposing an idea on them! I showed up yesterday as a surprise to go through the roll of names and associate them with faces so the certificates are well-prepared to offer, and Nangamso had a big group of children in the container practicing their songs and dances!

The idea of a gift was suggested in the Kenyan Baha'i book for children's classes. It is supposed to be a simple gift, even a piece of fruit. After accumulating enough photos of the children over the past 2 months, it entered my heart that they would each LOVE to have a photo of themselves. If it is determined to fit within the Assembly's budget, I will put all the photos on a flashdrive and take it to a shop where they can be printed out. The photo will then be given to each child along with the certificate.

No comments:

Post a Comment