This trip to Haiti has been so successful. Three Angels managerial staff had asked me to present on attachment, as well as instruct them in games that can help encourage attachment, between the children and the nannies at the orphanage.
The first day I utilized Circle of Security concepts in teaching the nannies. We translated the Circle of Security graphics into Kreole and to illustrate to them what children’s emotional needs are and how the nannies can meet them as they spend each day with them.
Three Angels has utilized much of the education that Small Steps Int’l has brought to them in developing an orphanage that focuses on the perspective of the baby. They have developed a caregiver to child ratio of 3 to 1 that remains consistent for as long as the children are living there. They are very protective of the children’s routine and schedule. They do not allow visitors to come and go at will when they have service teams from the United States or other countries come in to work for their ministry. It is not uncommon for people to assume that they can enter the orphanage and spend their time there just holding babies. In a strange way, it is similar to thinking of the orphanage as a small petting zoo. Three Angels has put in highly structured rules and regulations to limit A) the times and hours that people who are adopting the children can visit and B) limits the number of people visiting the orphanage C) and regulates the visitors behavior around the children. They will give financial supporters tours of the facilities but tell the teams to please not pick up the children even if the children run to them for that reason.
The second day, I trained the nannies in Therapy games that foster attachment and meeting children’s emotional needs. They enjoyed the games immensely, as I had them play with each other first and then when the babies woke up from naps, with the babies. The Haitian ladies love to laugh and interact playfully with each other. I have never had a difficult time getting them to enjoy any of the games or play techniques I have shown them.
It has been a delightful time at Three Angels. I want to specifically thank my translator Marie Estelle for helping me on our Circle of Security project and being faithful to translate everything I am teaching in a reliable, thoughtful manner.
Our time assisting Maranatha was equally wonderful and productive. We traveled to Zanglais, on the southern coast of Haiti, with Maranatha preschool teachers and staff to lead them in a retreat that focused on educating them on how they can facilitate the Kreole version of Nurturing Parenting to all the parents of their students. It is our first training to enable native Haitians to begin teaching the material we have been promoting on attachment, parenting and mental health.
The purpose of the second part of this trip was to provide training to two outstanding preschool teachers at Maranatha Preschool in Port-au-Prince so that they could train the parents of the preschoolers through the Nurturing Parenting Easy Reader.
The preschool has successfully been operating a free preschool to children in the local community. We have come along side them to offer education to the parents of those preschoolers. Shelley Tlucek, who founded Maranatha with her husband Byron Tlucek, and I have brainstormed on a way to reach the parents to help them develop a developmentally appropriate understanding of their children’s emotional and social needs. In a country that still utilizes restiveks (child slaves) in their daily live, education about the value of children and their needs, is vital. So we have taken on this task with this group of parents.
This trip, instead of me training the parents, as I have in the past, Marantha and Small Steps Int’l sponsored a retreat for two outstanding preschool teachers to be trained in the curriculum of the Nurturing Parenting Easy Reader. Nurturing Parenting has already translated their parenting easy reader into Kreyol. The work then was for the ladies to learn and understand the information and broaden their understanding of the concepts behind it, such as attachment, brain development, and empathy.
We traveled to Zanglais on the southern coast of Haiti to participate in a three day and 1/2 day retreat that would allow for the ladies to participate in all day seminars and self care. The time away allowed a peaceful place for us to learn and discuss the important concepts that the teachers would then take to the others staff and the parents.
We arrived home on Saturday after having the teachers practice with those of us on the retreat. Then we had them teach the other preschool teachers the first six chapters today. They communicated the information well and the preschool teachers also had lively discussion around the material.
I have offered to continue to supervise the implementation of the program at Maranatha. The value of having Haitian’s teach this information to the Haitian parents is huge. As we all know, the information will be easier to access when presented clearly in their own language, with someone familiar with their own culture.
The ladies were extremely happy to have been given this opportunity and entrusted with this important task. And for our part, SSI is honored to be a part of it.