CULTURE SHOCK AWAITS TOP SCHOOL'S TEACHERS IN KENYA
Greenbank Preparatory School Day Nursery staff Erin White and Natalie Walton hope to use the experience of spending two weeks working with severely mentally and physically disabled children in Kenya to improve further their own teaching in one of the country's leading independent preparatory schools in Cheadle Hulme.
The firm friends are the latest Greenbank staff to visit The Port Reitz orphanage, some seven years after former pupil Harrison Wood, then aged only nine, inspired his school to adopt them as one their nominated charities.
Mother of two and Greenbank Nursery Leader Erin, 32, from Heald Green and Nursery Assistant Natalie Walton, 24, from Heaton Mersey will suspend their duties at Greenbank for a two week trip to Kenya in September and have been warned to expect a culture shock.
“Many Greenbank teachers have already visited Port Reitz and told us the experience is going to pull at our heart strings.” said Erin “I have worked in Uganda before,” added Natalie "so I understand just how different life is like in the developing world and I know we can learn just as much from them as we can teach from our experience in England.” Natalie added “In particular the experience reinforces the value of resources. Every book, every pencil, every children's toy is precious out there and I hope to bring that ethos back to Britain, where our children can be perhaps forgiven for thinking everything is disposable.”
The young women will be working in the orphanage's assessment centre determining levels of disability and also with their teachers discussing contemporary British teaching methods.
Erin added “We also want to take out as many resources as possible such as books and toys and are busy fundraising now with a quiz night, a colour run and a just giving page. It will be very different to working in Greenbank, but we are there to help, advise and share best practice not to become too overly emotional about their daily struggle.”
Greenbank Preparatory School Headmistress Janet Lowe said “An essential part of our teaching is to demonstrate to our boys and girls just how lucky they are to be living in in Great Britain and how different and difficult the lives of other children are around the world. As well as offering practical support our continuing relationship with Port Reitz enables us to reinforce that key message.”
Natalie right and Erin left are pictured with Sahara and James in front of the school's display on their work at Port Reitz.