For years Carol White has taught young children using the Montessori educational method. Hearing that in Ethiopia few think about educating children until they are 6, she volunteered to come to Ethiopia to teach teachers, child sponsorship workers, and moms how to give their younger children a head start.
Over 2 weeks, Carol taught three groups of children’s workers. Almost everyone who attended was an experienced teacher, yet what Carol demonstrated from the Montessori way of teaching little ones was completely new to them. She went through what children are ready to learn in their first year of life, second year, etc. Most Ethiopians don’t expect children to learn much in their first five years. No Sunday School curriculum even exists for 3-5 year olds.
Carol demonstrated storytelling. She showed how to tell stories using all of the senses so that little ones would listen and watch, rather than fidget. Then she had the participants make cardboard figurines from locally available materials and practice dramatizing the stories. She modeled how to “bless” children concretely and scripturally, and let her listeners practice on one another. Finally, she got children’s worker trainees to commit to get their churches to allocate new resources to children’s ministry. A month later one of those churches had fifty-five children in Sunday School
Tewabech Mengistu, head of SIM’s ministry to children throughout Ethiopia, hosted one of Carol’s trainings for children’s workers in Addis Ababa. Excited by what Carol was sharing, she volunteered to come with Carol to a city 2 hours away to assist her the next week. Besides providing much-needed breaks for Carol during four strenuous days of training, she was able to introduce to the children’s workers in that area the curriculum that SIM has developed for 6-12 year-olds. When they learned that the curriculum had already been translated into their language, their jaws dropped; very little Christian literature has been available to them. Best of all, those workers now have a relationship with Tewabech, through whom they can get ongoing help as they begin to implement what they were taught.
Thanks, Carol and Tewabech, for your contributions to the work!