Our After School Program located in Centro de Apoio
EduMais is established with the purpose of bringing more education to the children of the underserved and underprivileged favela communities of Rio de Janeiro. In most classes we focus on English language skills. What sets EduMais apart from the many other projects is our focus on the social and emotional development (SEL) of the kids, and the development of life skills; all of which is achieved through strategically planned lessons and the Positive Discipline teaching method. EduMais is truly all about giving these kids an opportunity for a better future. In the classrooms, the focus is mainly on the discipline and English lessons, but the newest location, Centro de Apoio - Center of Support, is where emphasis is put on life skill development and it’s done in the most creative way.
The after-school program opened May 2017 as complementary education for children ages 8-12 to attend for 3 hours three times a week after school. The lesson plans made by the teachers, who are affectionately referred to as “tia”, or auntie in Portuguese, are created to be fun, but with purpose. All activities aim to build routine, self-regulation, empowerment, and respect. Each day is started on a positive vibe by opening classes with a round of compliments, where you compliment someone on something that they have done. Classes are typically followed by singing songs and various games to promote self-calmness. About halfway through the day, snacks are served, and the children get involved. They help clean the area and set the table, which help instill a sense of belonging. The day is usually wrapped up with some kind of activity, either yoga or meditation, both of which has been proven beneficial to children, as a calming activity. Next there is the closing ritual where they all sit in a circle and give another round of compliments, hugs, and seeing the kids off.
Developing SEL skills is not an easy nor overnight process. In the 3 months that the after-school program has been opened, there have been noticeable positive changes in the students. Changes that have carried over outside of the center and into the homes. Mothers of students have noticed the changes in behavior and have noted how the dynamic in the household has become better since attending. At the end of the day during the closing round of compliments, one student thanked the teachers. “I wanted to leave because I was angry, but I decided to come back. I love my day here, and my friends, and the ‘tias’.”
written by Adrienne Long, Office Support Volunteer