1. STW RADIO: Although our kids don't have computers or TVs, they do have radios!
Programs for the entire family are now being broadcasted on local radio stations, including weekly lessons, story-time and seat-gripping "Radio-Novelas" filled with advice for parents:
- In our interactive lessons, the narrator is the teacher and each activity includes questions that the children answer in their notebooks.
- "Storytime" includes a 30 minute audiobook where listeners are asked questions afterwards and tune in the next day for answers!
- With our "Radio-Novela" segments, parents learn important lessons such as the importance of having boys help equally with chores so girls can learn too! And even parents who never went to school can keep lessons going by playing make-believe or asking kids to count kernels of corn!
- Twice a day, we sponsor PSAs promoting the importance of education and returning to school when they reopen.
2. VIRTUAL TEACHER TRAINING COURSE
When schools reopen, teachers will hold a great responsibility to make sure that their students do not fall further behind in their learning. However, governments have not equipped our teachers with the skills or resources to do so...
Our team has taken the initiative! We are proud to share that we've rolled out a 5-week virtual training series focusing on critical remedial teaching techniques and tools.
To date, 419 teachers are enrolled and will complete this course knowing how to:
- Evaluate a child's needs and areas of struggle.
- Work with students one-on-one to get them up to speed.
- Create situations, based off students' interests, that will inspire learning.
- Use digital tools like Whatsapp to send homework and stay connected with students and parents.
- Provide remote learning, in case the pandemic causes ongoing disruptions when schools re-open.
These remote training sessions have been SO impactful for teachers that The Ministry of Education in both Guatemala and Honduras have allowed and encouraged us to open them up to ALL teachers, not just the communities we work in; impacting more children and rural communities than EVER before!
3. CONSTANT COMMUNICATION
A large part of our new "distance learning" strategy is done by using Whatsapp to communicate and check in on families and students. Using this mobile app, we are able to send homework assignments, receive pictures of completed homework, share inspirational graphics to remind families of their rights and the importance of education, and ecourage parents to re-enroll their children when schools reopen. These efforts have been keeping our students actively motivated and engaged with a 24/7 support system.
4. GIRLS: We are determined to protect girls and make sure that they return to school
A stay-at-home order can be very scary and dangerous for teenage girls. Not having schools open and available as safe spaces increases the risk of girls being pressured into early marriages and/or forced into abusive situations.
Additionally, the economic distress that families are facing will lead to an alarming percentage of girls never returning to school. With families facing the inability to pay children's school fees, the likelihood of girls being left behind and pushed into joining the labor force is high.
School the World is determined to protect girls and make sure that they return to school:
- We created workbooks for our scholarship girls about their rights and how to stay safe, including how and why teenage pregnancy and early marriage could deeply affect their lives.
- We also launched Whatsapp support groups to ensure that ALL of our scholarship recipients have someone to turn to (virtually) at all times if they are in need of help or feel they are in danger.
- We also are assigning watchful mothers in each community to "keep an eye out" and report any girls that could be victim of domestic violence or at risk of early marriage or teenage pregnancy.
5. WORKBOOK DEVELOPMENT & DELIVERY
Our team has been hard at work creating and *safely* delivering work packets to each of our communities so that children can continue to learn at home. While this method may seem simple, the educational packets have been a game-changer in preventing children, who live in remote villages without electricity or books, from falling behind.
"I never learned how to read or write. I am happy that my children will learn and can now practice at home, while schools are closed. Their favorite activity is to read aloud to me. They are so proud, and I am too."
- Honduran mother