Posts filed under ‘Ninos’

10 Things I Learned By Working With Kids

.:{My 3 year old teachers}:.

1) It’s important to have a routine with youngsters. When they are accustomed to a certain schedule, everything goes so much smoother and they don’t misbehave (as much).

2) If a kid is acting up, instead of punishing them, first try to see if something is actually wrong or is frustrating the kid. So many times at Casa Luz I simply watched the kids, to try to understand what was going through their heads, and realized that a lot of the times it was something simple that they were mad about but didn’t know how to communicate it other than crying and screaming. The mother’s didn’t realize this and would get mad at the kid for screaming, which would frustrate the kid more, cause more screaming, and the cycle continues.

3) Kids are so much smarter than you think.

4) They  love to learn and are super curious. The more you incorporate knowledge into your time with them, the more interested they will be.

5) Kids absolutely love love LOVE music and dancing. We as human innately love rhythm. If you need to get a room of children to pay attention, put on a song or just sounds in general (like a cd of noises-water running, glass breaking, a dog barking, a phone ringing), they love it.

6) Instead of just saying no- explain why you are saying no.

7) You are their example. They are constantly observing you. What you do and say, they WILL repeat.

.8) Remember, if they are 3 and under, that toy you are giving them, will inevitably end up in their mouth and the mouths of every other kid in the vicinity.

9) Life is beautiful

10) Bubbles are awesome

June 14, 2010 at 7:08 pm 1 comment

Casa Luz : Part 2

.:{Sin Palabras}:.

There aren’t words for my volunteer experience in Costa Rica. I guess that’s why I haven’t written much on my blog about Casa Luz. It’s an experience. Something I feel like a blog can’t really capture.

  • It’s the hugs and “Kelsey!” screams I am greeted with by the little kids everyday.
  • It’s the craziness that is Fanny who I work with in the kitchen.
  • It’s the moments when the moms actually open up and talk to me after months of being guarded.
  • It’s the feeling of being completely out of my comfort zone when I walked into Casa Luz the first day, and now walking in feeling confident and relaxed.
  • It’s the ability to be able to carry on a conversation with the workers when I couldn’t even understand them at first.
  • It’s connecting with the girls.
  • It’s having a terror-child actually calm down and listen to you when you talk to them (or at least pretend to).
  • It’s the skills I have learned when it comes to dealing with children.
  • It’s dancing with the kids at the end of the day, and seeing their faces light up with the first note of the “Hi-Five” song.
  • It’s the feeling of feeling needed.
  • It’s the smiles.
  • It’s the tears.
  • It’s the daily “hola’s” and “hasta luego’s.”
  • It’s a moment when you feel like what you are doing is worth while.

Although my experience at Casa Luz is completely different from anything I thought it would be, I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to work there for the last 4 months. It’s these moments that I am going to remember forever.

June 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

An Overdue Update

.:{So, in the last two months…}:.

Okay, so here’s the deal, I realize that it has been about 2 months since my last blog post. This is unacceptable. I know. And actually to me, it really only felt like it had been a month, so I guess that means that things are coming along speedily- which is a good, or bad thing depending on how you look at it.

So, here are my updates over the last 2 months (each update definitely deserves more attention than I’m giving it, but I realize that no one really wants to read THAT much about anything).

  1. I never found a swim suit in Costa Rica. However, when my mom came to visit she kindly brought 3 swim suits for me to pick and choose from. Now I have 2 lovely swim suits 🙂 Thanks mom!
  2. Speaking of which, my mom came to visit in April!!! We had an absolutely amazing week split between La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio. We kept saying how dream-like this week was and thinking about it now it really does seem like a dream. I will write a separate little blog entry on this to fill everyone in.
  3. A couple weeks before my mom came I was lucky enough to spend Semana Santa (the week before Easter, which here is like everyone’s Spring Break) with my host sister, her husband, and two others at the beach in Guanacaste (1 of Costa Rica’s 7 provinces). Spending an entire week, not to mention the hottest week of the year, in Costa Rica, at the beach made me feel as sunny inside as I was feeling outside. The week was so relaxing and I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be able to spend an entire week a la playa while I was here in Costa Rica. Not-to-mention it was a great booster for my Spanish because I was with people all day speaking Spanish. Now, you’re probably thinking, wait isn’t that your life in Costa Rica? And yes, it is. But my daily life is spent with 3 year olds, so my vocabulary is very limited with them- and I realized just how much more I would learn if I was around adults all day. Again, like the trip with my mom, I will try to write up a little blurb about this one, or at least post some beautiful pictures for everyone to see.
  4. I am still working at Casa Luz, and boy has that been an interesting experience. From feeling frustrated at first, to happy, to confused, to excited, I am constantly learning more about myself and the world around me during my volunteering. Although it has not been anything like I imagined, it has been life-changing. That’s for sure.
  5. I was back in the states for long weekend as a surprise visit for Ray’s Graduation. A blog is in order for this 🙂
  6. And, as if I wasn’t lucky enough to spend a week at the beach for Semana Santa and a week with my mom in La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio, this last week I was in Puerto Viejo with Ray, Jen, Chayla and Tyler. Like the others, I will be posting a separate blog on this INCREDIBLE experience.

So, there is a little update for you. I am attempting to write as much as possible in my final 3 weeks here (I can’t believe that’s all I have left). Until next time, I hope that everyone is doing well and I am sending a little bit of Costa Rican happiness to all of you!

May 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

Casa Luz : Volunteering

.:{Embracing Little Victories}:.

After about a month, I am finally writing a blog post about my volunteer work at Casa Luz. Why did I wait so long? In the beginning, I had mixed feelings about my work with the young girls and their kids, and wanted to feel out the place before I shared my experience with others. I didn’t want to say one thing, only to realize that I really meant another. That being said, here has been my experience thus far.

In the beginning, I was pretty disappointed with my volunteer placement. From AIDE’s website, my work at Casa Luz sounded more… valuable, than what I was experiencing. My first day, I showed up in the kids daycare where I basically just ran around after the kids, attempting to keep them under control in my wobbly-worded spanish, not knowing what the rules/expectations were of the kids or of myself. Besides my initial interview with the director, I had no real orientation or introduction to Casa Luz, the staff, or the habits of the house. I definitely felt like I had been thrown into the water, with no idea how to swim. But as I am here for 4 months, the reality of the situation was, Sink or Swim, and I was not ready to sink—I had to keep myself afloat—so I came to work each day telling myself that if I wanted my volunteer work to be worthwhile, I had to try. Every accomplishment starts first with the decision to try. And now a month later, I am feeling the little victories of my efforts.

  • The moms who were initially reserved about talking with me, probably because I was new, shy, and the fact that we didn’t understand one another, are now asking me and the other volunteer questions like, “How do you say “muchacho guapo” in English?” Which is now why we often hear the girls referring to themselves or others as “hotties.”
  • I actually know how to talk to the kids now, and can understand most of their toddler spanish jibberish.
  • Me and the other volunteer finally have a set schedule that is reasonable and makes sense. When I first started my hours were a little random, and I felt like I was either not needed because I was working at the same time as many others, I was being taken advantage of, or I was unsure of my schedule. Now, after the lovely cook talked with us and the volunteer coordinators, one of us volunteers works in the mornings to early afternoon and the other from the early afternoon to late afternoon.
  • Although he had to leave Casa Luz last Friday, my daily “animal noise”/”keep him occupied and distracted” time with one of the kids in the house was finally paying off as he started out only knowing how to sound like a horse, cow and dog, and afterwards knew how to “talk” like a dog, horse, cow, cat, pig, elephant, rooster and duck.
  • And although I still feel like I am doing more “babysitting” than anything else… and that am doing work that is much different from what I expected/originally wanted, I am happy with my placement. With every learned animal noise, laugh from a kid, smile from one of the moms, moment cleaning dishes, jumping dance in the daycare, and spoonful of food eaten (who knew toddlers would hate eating so much-oh how their world will change), I know that in my own small way I am making a difference in the world and that’s all that really matters.

March 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm 2 comments


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