An Arizona Daily Star reporter and photographer visited our school Tuesday to learn more about the Child to Child Project: Sharing Kindness With Kibera that we have been working on since the beginning of the school year. Our project culminated with our students making picture frames – with Kibera students pictures in them – to send back to the kids in Kibera, most of whom have not seen themselves before.
Here is a link to the Arizona Daily Star article:
Pen pal project connected kids from Tucson to Africa
by Perla Trevizo
Learning about others and extending a helping hand is what drew Daniel into the pen-pal school project with children from Africa.
“Maybe one day you will need help just like them, and maybe they can help you,” said the 10-year-old as he decorated a picture of one of the children from Kibera, one of the largest slums in the world with about 1 million residents.
More than 750 Tucson Country Day School students took part in a yearlong effort, which included sending letters to students in Kibera, outside Nairobi, Kenya, filling a suitcase with crayons, pencils and other school supplies donated by the students and their families, and which is culminating this week with the art project.
Most of the students in Kibera don’t have pictures of themselves — many have never even seen themselves because there are no mirrors, school officials said. So as part of the Child to Child Project: Sharing Kindness With Kibera, the students decorated and framed pictures of their pen pals, glued on purple cloth, with their names to be sent back to Africa.
Part of the Common Core standards is to push children to think globally, said Terra Maddock, a fifth- grade teacher at Tucson Country Day School. “We thought, ‘Let’s do something with another country and try to be pen pals.’ ”
Through word of mouth, they heard of someone who worked in Kibera who came to the school to talk to the children about life in the slum and the importance of education.
What struck Hunter, 11, the most from the visit was that guest Charles Nderitu told students he was 18 when he owned his first pair of shoes.
“It made me feel sad,” the fifth-grader said, “because when you don’t have shoes until you are 18 you are stepping on the hot ground and your feet are burning.”
She also wants their classrooms to be bigger. The students saw pictures of 30 to 40 of their pen pals wearing their blue-and-red uniforms crammed into little classrooms with dirt floors and walls made with metal sheeting.
Even after the project is done, Hunter said, she would like to keep helping people because she gets a “tingly feeling” in her body that makes her happy. And one day she would like to visit Africa to see what it’s like over there and work with people.
Maddock said she’s seen her students form long-lasting relationships across the world.
“I have seen how generous and thoughtful my students can be,” she said. “It’s proven that it’s really more about giving than getting.”
And along the way, they also worked on teamwork and writing, and learned to communicate better with one another, she said.
The pictures are in! Kindergarten students are taking part, along with students in all grade levels, in pen pal letter-writing to children in Kibera.
Students wrote letters in December, and now they are eagerly awaiting letters in return from their pen pals. Letters should arrive next month.
Here’s a look at Ms. Amber’s class, hard at work writing letters to their pen pals in December.
Great work, kindergarten students!
Many of our students are pen pals with students in Kibera, which is in Nairobi, Kenya in Africa. Our kids received letters from Kibera, wrote back, and now, we’ve heard that a new set of letters from the kids in Kibera will be heading back to TCDS soon. The letters should arrive in February.
Becky Nissen, who is helping us transport the letters to and from Africa, says she knows it’s a slow process, but they are so grateful for what our school and students are doing.
We’re excited to be a part of this neat pen pal project, and we hope that it is a great experience for all involved.
Fourth grade students in Ms. Mazon’s class and fifth grade students in Mrs. Maddock’s class organized and “classified” supplies that preschool through fifth grade students collected for our pen pal project with students in Kibera, which is in Nairobi, Africa.
Pencils, crayons, small games, pencil sharpeners, markers, stickers, balloons and a backpack were among the items students and parents donated. Once separated into groups, students “stuffed” a suitcase full of the supplies.
Pen pal letters from students in kindergarten through eighth grade were also included in the suitcase.
What an amazing experience – and the pictures show it!
The suitcase will be sent with a person affiliated with the students and schools in Kibera who will visit Africa in January.
A new project is in store for Tucson Country Day School! Many classes – at several grade levels – are going to be pen pals with students in Kibera, which is in Nairobi, Kenya in Africa.
The students we are pen pals with in Africa live in less fortunate situations than most of us do. Most of them only eat one meal a day – a small bowl of a food similar to porridge that they are fed at school. They also usually don’t wear shoes. The students are packed side-by-side into classrooms, struggling to focus on learning.
TCDS students got to learn about the living and school environment of the students in Kibera when special guest speaker Charles Nderitu came all the way from Africa to speak to our students. Students in preschool all the way through eighth grade were treated to the wonderful assembly recently. Students even learned a game, song and movements that kids in Kibera know.
During the assembly, Ms. Savage, our music teacher led several students in playing African music with instruments. She also chose other students to participate in an African group dance.
Our students have been working on curriculum-based projects to send to the students in Kibera. The projects include written brochures about Arizona, life stories and letters to students in Kibera, to name a few. All who are involved in this pen pal project are very excited and eager to participate.
In kindergarten, each class chose to write about a different topic regarding Arizona. Ms. Kari’s class wrote about the food here, Mr. Jason’s class focused on our state’s monuments, Ms. Jaclyn’s students discussed plants native to Arizona, and Ms. Amber’s class wrote about the wildlife. The students loved it and were so excited to help out less fortunate kids.
Guest speaker Charles brought pen pal letters that children in Kibera wrote for TCDS students. Many students and classes will continue to be pen pals with the children in Kibera during the school year.
Students will be learning not only about another student in halfway across the world, but also about a different culture as well as a way of life that is different from theirs. They will also be working on their reading, writing and social studies, while helping Kibera students practice their English skills as well.
There were two assemblies – one for preschool through third grade and a second assembly for fourth through eighth grade. At the end of the second assembly, many students went up to greet Charles, giving him hugs, high fives and thanking him for coming to Tucson.
In addition to pen pal letters, our students also plan to help spread kindness by collecting school supplies to send to the students in Kibera. This is a project – put together mostly through Project Wisdom – that is sure to positively impact our students.