On the 15th of March, Jessica Davis, a teacher from the Montessori school of Bloomington, USA, came to give a 4 day workshop in Littlecob.

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Some of the teachers from the nearest school attended, together with some of the university students (UNAN, Matagalpa). Although the focus was mainly on the teaching of Mathematics, Jessica also spent time sharing her knowledge of Maria Montessori’s life and philosophy.

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The days Jess was with us were beyond anything I could have hoped for. She worked so hard but in such a peaceful way that she succeeded in making it  easy to grasp,  even though I now fully realise it will take years to reach a truly Montessori mind!

When she left, it seemed impossible that we’d  known each others for only 5 days.

Her pupils are lucky children indeed!

A privilege and gift it is for Littlecob and all those who attended her workshop, and what a fascinating encounter for me personally (encounter both with Jess and with Maria Montessori!)

The children in Jessica’s class had fundraised to provide the Maths materials brought to Little Cob and her head master and school made the whole experience possible by funding her trip.

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Some of the Maths materials bought by Jessica’s class for

The Littlecobblers have rarely been offered a workshop of such depths and worth, and the fact that others in the community also benefited made it  all the more enriching by weaving links within the greater community.

Thank you to all those who made it possible, and thank you Jess for moulding yourself into the life of Littlecob in such a natural, effortless way; we won’t forget you and will keep building and strengthening the precious foundation you have built for us.

As the children were getting back to school after their long Christmas holidays, Christine arrived back to Littlecob to teach intensive English for the 3d year running. For a month, the children and some young adults came to her classes – many of them for the 2d or 3d year running.  She taught morning and afternoon, several groups of various levels. Teachers and parents have noted the obvious progress these youngsters are showing.

The method Christine has devised not only helps them learning English (an essential skill to access better jobs in the future) but teaches them the mechanism of the language, so those who really apply themselves have a truly valuable tool at their disposal. We end up with the strange situation that some of our primary school children  are better at English than youngsters close to finishing secondary education (even though no English is taught in state primary schools here)

One pupil who attended Christine’s classes for the 3d year and just started secondary school in February, is now the ‘teacher’s assistant’ in her English class.

As well as giving so much of her time to teach English to the littlecobblers, it is also thanks to Christine that Littlecob has a librarian who receives a very generous study grant against working 30 hours doing the admin jobs and working with the children. Kenia has been working with us for a year now, and is very happy in her role of librarian. Without the fundraising Christine does relentlessly for this purpose, littlecob would be much the worse for it.

Thank you Christine for giving so much of your time and effort to make Littlecob a better experience for the children, and for making my part in it lighter and more rewarding! Thank you for your trust in us, and for your friendship.

Kenia, who  had never dreamt she would find herself in this type of work a year ago, is enjoying her experience. She is loved by the children and finds her job fulfilling and enriching.  She wrote down her feelings about this experience:

La Casita de Barro, por Kenia

La pequeña casita de barro es un lugar donde todo es diferente, un lugar donde puedes ser libre apartándote un poco de todo lo que tenemos a diario y viviendo un poco la realidad que viven muchos niños de Matagalpa. Jamás me vi en este trabajo y la verdad para mí ha sido una de las mejores cosas que han llegado a mi vida una gran experiencia, no solo porque estoy con ellos sino que también al igual que ellos me enriquezco como persona.

Este proyecto es una gran iniciativa para recrear de gran manera a estos niños que serán el futuro, agradezco a los niños por permitirles servirles por todo un año, gracias Dominique Olney una gran mujer que ha estado luchando por mantener vivo este hermoso lugar, gracias voluntarios si ustedes también los niños no aprenderían cosas nuevas y sobre todo con su aporte y apoyo este lugar se mantiene.

No se necesita tener el mundo a tus pies para ser feliz, simplemente se feliz con lo que tienes.

The Little Cob House, by Kenia

The little cob house is a place unlike anywhere else. A place where you can free yourself from the day by day routine we have to live in, and where you enter into the reality that many of the Matagalpa children survive in. I never imagined myself in such a job, but the truth is that it has been one of the best things that has happened to me in my life, a great experience, not only because I am with the children but also  because, like them, I feel enriched as a person.

This project is a great initiative as it fulfils those children who will be our future, and I am grateful to them for allowing me to serve them for a whole year. I am thankful to Dominique  who is fighting to keep alive this beautiful place, and I also wish to thank all the volunteers without whom the children would not learn so many things. Their help and contributions make it possible for this place to carry on.

Semana Santa

Easter or Semana Santa as it is called here in Nicaragua, saw the Little Cobblers decorating and dyeing Eggs. Here they are with Victoria and Ruth using wax crayons to draw on the eggs then dipping them in food colouring. Another method was to colour shaving foam with food colouring and roll the pre boiled eggs in it, this gave some really pretty, bright colours. Onions skins and beetroot provided natural dyes and as always nothing was wasted, some of the eggs with mayonnaise made sandwiches, and the beetroot was combined with tomatoes, cucumber and celery in a tasty salad. Even the cooked onion skins were utilised in the compost.

Everyone took home decorated eggs, a Happy Easter for all.