Meet Rama Aachhami. Rama is a gifted young primary teacher at the Choina School. She is in charge of the Class 1 room at Choina—the equivalent of first grade in the United States. Rama has over twenty students at all times, but there is frequent turnover in her class roster, since her students come from poor families who often migrate to find work. As the school can’t afford to hire additional staff, Rama works all day by herself and isn’t able to take any breaks.
Despite the many demands of her job, Rama is deeply committed to her students and to the school. She is a frequent attendee of the National Center for Learning Resources trainings hosted by ICRI Nepal. She is always looking for new ideas and approaches to engage the minds of her young students.
In the last post, I told you about the incredible transformation of the early childhood classroom at Choina School, which ICRI Nepal revamped from a storage closet into a vibrant classroom filled with stimulating learning materials.
Rama’s Class 1 space was originally built to serve as a classroom, but when she began teaching there she had no child-friendly learning materials. She worked hard to craft and source her own materials, most made from recycled items and found objects. It is exciting to see that the children at Choina School move from the early childhood classroom to Rama’s classroom, and continue to enjoy new and developmentally-appropriate materials as they learn and grow.
ICRI Nepal helped Rama make her classroom child-friendly and stocked with stimulating materials. ICRI Nepal also provided Rama with extensive training and mentoring in early childhood education. Rama told me, speaking via a translator, that she now thinks of her role as a teacher very differently thanks to her involvement with ICRI Nepal.
One of the absolute highlights of my visit was getting the chance to watch Rama and several other teachers play students themselves, acting out creative curriculum ideas at a National Center for Learning Resources training led by ICRI Nepal. Then, just a few days later while visiting Rama’s classroom, I had the chance to watch Rama teach this very same lesson plan to her own students.
Rama gently led the children through a dramatic play exercise in which they acted out an elaborate role play about health and sickness. The children were a bit tentative at first, but with Rama’s gentle urging, they grew more and more involved in the exercise—brainstorming new ideas, thinking through the possible consequences, and by the end nearly bursting with excitement.
The smiles on their faces said it all.