Thursday, May 16, 2013

Child Friendly School Mural

The school where I volunteer here in Pointe Michel, the St. Lukes Primary School, held a big celebration to mark their adopting of the Child Friendly School Initiative, an initiative of the Dominican Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, and also supported by the  UNICEF Eastern Caribbean.

The almost two hour event was put on by the children---from a student MC, to the
welcoming and thank you speech. The children excelled with art, dance, singing, drumming, and a poem written by Teacher Christy performed by the whole school, plus they children cooked some of the food and served the food. Three outstanding youngsters were inducted into the school "Hall of Fame."

I had  great time the week before this event watching the kids all practice their parts, and co-creating with the children a small mural to commemorate the adoption of the Child Friendly School Initiative. I created the initial design, traced it via carbon paper onto the chosen wall and some of the 5th and 6th grade children painted the mural.

Then I helped some of the pre-K (preschool) wee ones place their handprints around the design, and a 6th grade girl carefully painted the lettering to complete the mini-mural. they all did a great job, and we had fun creating together.

I took photos all along of the mural creating process, and here are some....

painting the background the 1st day

Everyone wanted to paint or watch the process...

the finished mini-mural----the children in the mural have the school uniforms on...and the school motto is reaching for the stars....

What did I learn from this process? I learned a very valuable lesson that the Peace Corps tried to teach me during our training: Always involve the community where you are volunteering in any project. 

In my usual enthusiastic way, when the school principle Sister Annita asked me to think about a "simple mural design the kids can paint," I went ahead and designed this small mural at home that very same weekend without any input from the children or school staff. It was only after the mural was all completed that I realized my mistake, and by then it was too late. So now this mural graces the school walls but the school has not embraced it like they probably would have IF I had involved them in the design process. I am a bit embarrassed to admit I made this major blunder, but I also know I will never again make this mistake..after all, mistakes are how we learn--correct? and the children and I did have fun painting this...


  1. Wonderful post. Great pictures. I certainly hope we're learning while were here! Congratulations on the cool things you're getting into.

  2. Hi Aurora! Looks like a great project and sweet group of kids. So good to hear you're getting used to everything and liking the school. The heat would do me in. ;) Stay cool! -Laurie