We began our first day in the village with a tour of the Children Welfare Institution. Before even going into the classrooms, we knew that we were about to witness something special just by watching the way in which the parents and children arrived in the morning. Because of the rain, most of the parents carried the children in on their backs while holding umbrellas, which made the presence of a strong connection between adults and children immediately evident. After observing in the classrooms for a bit, we had the opportunity to film the interactions that we found most representative of Simple Interactions. We plan to analyze these videos and use the ones we find most exemplary of quality interactions between adults and children in our presentation on Thursday. There were fewer children than usual in the morning (9-11 a.m.) due to rain. Most of the families have a difficult time commuting in the rain because they walk or the children are in wheelchairs. In the afternoon (2-4 p.m.), the rain stopped and more children arrived. While filming, what stood out the most was the purposeful, yet meaningful interactions. Everything that occurred in the classrooms was intentional, but the focus was not on meeting goals or objectives; rather, the focus was on the happiness and well-being of the children and the positive interactions between the children and adults. Upon reflection, we recognized that schools in the United States often fixate on the idea of meeting standards so much that the importance of interactions between individuals is lost. Here, however, we have seen no mention of standards; the intention is to help the children learn through interactions, not despite them. These ideals that we came across in the classrooms embody the principles of Simple Interactions and gave us another level of understanding of what quality interactions look like.
Topics: fred rogers, study abroad, China, Fred Rogers Scholars, bearcats on the road, service trip, Fred Without Borders, Student Blog