Thursday, April 29, 2010

Building a Community with Bean Bags

The LOEP 2010 Training Workshop theme was "Building a Community of Learners". The theme spoke directly to the critically important role of educators in re-building the Liberian nation community broken by 25 years of political strife and 14 years of war. The workshop focused on how to begin building a community of learners by starting with the inclusive classroom. Teachers discovered that developing a community of learners is important to any educational environment whether that setting is an individual classroom, a school, or a teacher education program Teachers discovered how establishing a positive classroom environment can increase student success and learned how expanding the positive environment to include teachers and students as an entire school community working and learning together can enhance the learning experience for all. Broadening the learning community's reach into the homes of students to include families brings the learning experience into the surrounding community at large - a sort of ripple effect beginning with the classroom nucleus.
Liberian society and culture once consisted of strong, close-knit communities - nation of villages and extended family networks. That all changed with devastating war and now it is time to rebuild communities and restore a sense of community - that is, shared goals and shared commitment. Educators are at the forefront of the re-building process and re-building community is key to restoring lasting stability and peace in Liberia.
As LOEP trainers worked last year to develop the training workshop for 2010 we never imagined that such a wonderful example of communituy-building and mutual support would come to us through the Craft Hope bean bag project. When LOEP submitted our request to the crafting community for help in providing classroom bean bag sets for Liberian teachers, the crafting community responded instantly and generously. Bean bag sets are coming daily from all over the world. The amazing response is a beautiful example of how a community can work together to accomplish a common goal - in this case, enhancing classroom learning for Liberian students.
Craft Hope has provided LOEP teachers with a living example of community.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Beth- Thank you so much for your sweet, sweet comment on my blog! I just mailed out a set of alphabet bean bags 2-3 day priority from Idaho. They should hopefully get to you in a jiffy! I am so thrilled to be able to do something to help out these wonderful angels in Liberia. I would like to do more however! I am the co-host of a new organization called Sending Smiles. Kirsti Clark, the organizer of this awesome group and I would LOVE to offer any help that you may need. We could gather and send more school supplies. Make tote bags for the children, filled with school items. Send Christmas gifts, you name it and we will set to it! As I have mentioned before, we aren't quite as large of a group as Craft Hope but if it's one thing I have learned, people want to help. We are growing larger everyday. It makes my heart swell just knowing how many out there are longing to help their fellow neighbors. You can take a peek at our site here, www.smilesbymail.blogspot.com and/or you can contact me, Christine Dallimore at chrisylee12@hotmail.com
    I hope to hear from you very soon!
    Have a fabulous day!!!