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 Classroom ‘X-change’ for Xavier Catholic College Teacher

Veronica.jpgXavier Catholic College School Teacher, Veronica Pronger, has swapped her Drama classroom for an outdoors beach classroom while volunteering for New Horizons Day Care Centre for street children in Goa, India recently.  The Centre caters for children aged 3-6 years of age and focuses on preparing students for entry into school.  In order to attend school children in India students must first pass an entrance exam.  Many of the children at New Horizons may eventually go to a school where classes are conducted in Konkani because it is more affordable to attend these schools rather than attending a private school where both English and Hindi (the national language of India) are taught. 
“Teaching the children English is essential as they live in Goa, one of the tourist capitals of India.” 

For the past four weeks Veronica has been working with 32 children including one child in a wheelchair and one visually impaired child.

"Some of my daily duties include preparing lessons in English, Maths, Drama, Dance and Art, teaching children hygiene skills, serving food and assisting to implement administrative processes for the centre.”

The biggest change in her approach to teaching has been having to find new ways to source materials and create activities from recycled and reused materials when access to printers, laminators and stationary stores is so limited. 

“Before I arrived, the children had never seen a worksheet generated by a computer.”

One of the highlights of my experience so far has been the opening of a small playground for the children.  One of the local restaurants and several visitors from abroad raised the money needed to purchase the playground equipment. 

“Some of the children had never been on a swing or a slippery slide before and their sense of joy, particularly for the young girl in the wheelchair, was infectious.” 

Miss Pronger chose India as an ideal volunteer experience after attending an Ignatian spirituality Staff Pilgrimage to Europe in 2009, where she traced the footsteps of her school’s patron Saint, St Francis Xavier and St Ignatius. Upon arriving in India Miss Pronger has visited the body of St Francis Xavier, which now rests in Bom Jesus in Goa. The motto of the centre is “A Childhood Worth Remembering”. 

“I must admit the experience of being welcomed by the students and staff of New Horizons Day Centre into their community with such open and loving arms and hearts has been truly memorable.”