The MICDS 2nd and 4th grade classes have formed a new and exciting relationship with students from Shree Krishna Basic School in Gamaudi, Dailekh Nepal, thanks to a connection with alumnae Janie Kaiser ’11. Janie is the co-founder of ECC (Education Concern Center) Nepal, which began in 2016.
ECC aims to “bring interactive learning to rural and remote Nepal. By using research and experience in child development and educational psychology, ECC is working to train teachers, provide materials and alter the environment of the school and the classroom. Classrooms are going to become fun spaces where students learn through play, hands-on activities, songs and games,” said Janie.
As part of that effort, Janie initiated a pen pal relationship between one of her classes and MICDS 2nd and 4th graders. MICDS students then created some videos of their own to share with her students.
“After winter break, Janie was in St. Louis and stopped by MICDS to talk about her work with her kids in Nepal. We had lunch with Janie to talk about what a pen pal relationship would look like, and that day, she came to talk to our 2nd graders about her kids and their school and life in Nepal,” said 2nd Grade Teacher Kristen Kaiser.
She added, “As soon as Janie returned to Nepal, we sent her our first video messages where our students introduced themselves and talked about their favorite book they were reading. When we got the responses from the children in Nepal, it was great for our students to see what a classroom in Nepal looks like as well as learn about some of their traditions and how their day-to-day life is similar and different from ours.”
ECC launched their efforts with a “Model School Project” in Gamaudi Village. By working closely with three schools and their communities, ECC has created a research-like environment where they can study the efficacy of their educational intervention.
“It is a small scale educational intervention where teachers are provided continuous and in-depth support as they go through the training and struggles of teaching with limited resources. ECC will work exclusively in Gamaudi Village for three years before presenting their findings in the hopes of being able to expand their work to other communities across rural Nepal,” said Janie.