My name is Lillian from East Africa. I am a teacher by profession, but I had never thought about teaching or working with babies between the age of 6 months and 3 years before I was approached by Vision First to assist with their playgroup.
I said I would give it a go, though I was unsure how to entertain such a young crowd. You see I am a mother of three children (they are adults now) and I know how demanding those little ones are. The first time I attended I saw how refugee and resident children were having fun together.
On my second group I was asked to sing to the children, but my voice disappeared with the excitement and I had some kind of weird stage fright in front of those curious little eyes. I was told not to worry and practice before an imaginary class at home, singing, telling stories and entertaining them. Believe me, that work!
A few weeks later the playgroup needed assistants and fortunately I had gained enough confidence to give it a try. Six months later I had mastered the “Songs and Rhymes”, become more creative and found exciting activities for the young stars to enjoy. By then the regular children had become familiar with me and the time we shared was relaxing and fun.
By this time I had even changed the music I listened to at home. I was playing kiddy songs. I was smitten by children rhymes. I was checked out Smurf Books online and only visited websites dedicated to entertaining and instructing children. My old passion as a teacher had been revived.
I found some truly amazing website that offered fun and education activities to help children learn through play, while stimulating their senses and making sure that FUN was always the operating word. Today I believe I have become a proficient host for this age group and I respect them because these babies are totally sincere. They won’t hide their feelings or pretend to be polite!
If they are not interested in what you are doing they will let you now in less than three seconds. They don’t pretend, but are truthful, which gives opportunities to make adjustments in what you are doing with them. You have to be passionate and patient with babies and most importantly enjoy what you are doing. They can tell instantly if you are not having fun that day.
Once a week I participate in the playgroup at Vision First and for one morning I forget I fled to Hong Kong to save my life and haven’t seen my loved ones for four years already. I have discovered that playing with children is the best medicine to cure the asylum illness that has taken root in my heart.