International Placement 2018, New Delhi, India
The School of Early Childhood at George Brown College offers a variety of global placements supported by the program or through individual arrangements. The School has a long standing partnership in Jamaica and China and more recently in India. The placement takes place in partnership with the Ritinjali, small organization that works with marginalized groups.
In the past, early childhood students have successfully completed placements at an outdoor play organization, a local child care centre, a program for children with special needs and an orphanage, as well as in childcare centers serving the slum communities.
Each program has offered new learning in partnership development, pedagogy and practice and a deeper understanding of how children and families are supported in the urban Indian context. The students also travel to the famous Taj Mahal in Agra and often travel to rural schools to understand the different community needs. With a population of over 1.2 billion, India offers a rich diversity in history, culture, religion and language. It is also a country which offers learning opportunities with other experts in early childhood education and family support preparing George Brown students for the global community.
This placement offers you a chance to experience international travel with peers with faculty support from George Brown College.
This year the placement takes place in February 2018, and the ECE team has been joined by the students from Child and Youth program as well as from the Nursing program. The voices of the students participating in the Project India, New Delhi 2018, will shed more light on the nature of this year project. We hope that you will enjoy reading about the experiences of the participating students.
Letters from the students:
February 13, 2018
I know you've recently gotten a lot of snow, all is warm and dry here in Delhi. We arrived really late on Sunday night, got to our apartments at around 2am (Monday morning). We went right to our orientation at Ritinjali at 1pm the next day, and met our Ritinjali leaders Shruti, Priyanuj and Dilreen. We were introduced to the organization, the philosophy and mission statement, and the variety of relief, social and education programs they run in both India and Nepal.
Delhi is very busy - there's around 11,900 people for every square kilometer (compared to Toronto at around 4,100). There are people in every corner, every walk way, every road and building that you look at. Traffic is CRAZY here! The drivers honk their horns excessively at one another, but not in an angry way... more of a "hey I'm behind you please let me through" type of way. There's lanes painted on the roads but no one follows them. The smog and pollution from all the vehicles is very intense as well.
The food so far in Delhi has been amazing. Absolutely amazing. Not one complaint here. As a complete health nut, I try to avoid meats, eggs and dairy while living in Canada, and coming to India this hasn't been much of an issue either, aside from chicken here and there which I honestly don't mind. The foods have been full of spice, aroma, and flavour. Currys, rice dishes, potatoes, lentil soup, kebabs, breads of all varieties. It's an adventure for our taste buds - but I definitely feel bad for the members of the group who aren't fond of/can't handle spices.
There's 3 groups of us from GBC. ECEs, Nursing and Child and Youth Care; and we're all working in different programs and centers all run by Ritinjali. Taylor and I are working at Kusum Pur Pahari Learning Centre alongside 2 local teachers - one of which grew up in the Kusum Pur Pahari Slum himself!
The children - and even the locals - are all so curious about us. We're new and foreign, so this is something really interesting for them. They love to observe us when we're near, say hi, smile and wave, some even take photos of us. Everyone has been incredibly friendly though, one local even told us "you are visitors to India, we must take care of you. It's our good karma". What an amazing introduction to our trip, we've met so many beautiful souls so far and have sparked many conversations on education and social justice. Here's to the next 3 weeks!
Kirsten Ross, ECE (in pink)
February 20, 2018
This week has gone by in the blink of an eye. It is hard to believe that we have already completed more than half of our stay here. We have had a whirlwind of a time so far and there is still so much to do, to see, and to eat! We've already seen so many temples and landmarks and tasted so many delicious dishes that it's crazy to think there is still an abundant of things left to be explored.
This week at Kusumpur Pahari we discussed our bodies and the different parts to our bodies. We were able to go through our body this week and label the different parts. The children were so eager to learn the English words and we were so excited to have the children teach us the Hindi words. We brought in playdough to let them sculpt their own face or their friends face. When they got their hands on the playdough you could just see how much they really enjoyed squishing the playdough and moulding it into different shapes. We also planned an activity for the children where they used pipe cleaners and Styrofoam balls to create their own miniature people. They twisted the pipe cleaners to resemble bodies and used the Styrofoam ball as heads. I think they had the most fun using small pieces of pipe cleaners to create faces on their little people.
This week there was a holiday to celebrate Shiva's wedding, so there was no class. Kirsten and I decided to take the day to explore more of Delhi. We spent the whole day roaming around, taking in as much as we could. Our first stop was at The Red Fort which was the main residence of the emperors during the Mughal dynasty for almost 200 years. Our next stop was Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. From the outside, it looks like a small mosque on the top of a long staircase, but on the inside, it is very large. After the mosque, we wandered through Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in India. Walking through the market you became shoulder to shoulder with everyone because there was no other choice. Picture being on the TTC during rush hour but with 6.3 times more people. The last stop on our day trip was Agrasen Kai Baoli, an ancient well in the heart of New Delhi.
One Thursday we had the pleasure of travelling on a bus for four hours to visit the Taj Mahal. Let me tell you now that you can see one million pictures of this wonder of the world, but nothing will ever be able to capture the magnificent beauty of the Taj. The marble is so white and when the sun hits the building its blinding. No words and no pictures can do justice in describing just how amazing this monument is, you look at it and you can't even believe that it is real life.
On Saturday, we went with the children from Kusumpur Pahari to visit Qutub Minar and then had a picnic in a park. The children loved exploring Qutab Minar! We ran around exploring all the textures of the buildings and the intricate details on the walls. The children and I found a big grassy hill and decided to have races down the hill to a tree and back. After a few rounds of racing I had to call it quits because I was so tired and the sun was beating down on us. We got back on the bus and drove to a nearby park for lunch. After eating, we had the whole park to ourselves to run around, play on the swings, and even run through a sprinkler before being told not to anymore.
This trip has been a magical, life changing, learning experience so far and I am dreading having to return to Canada.
Taylor Rhora, ECE student
February 26, 2018
This past week here in Delhi has been busy. Monday was a regular placement day, but Tuesday and Wednesday the ECE team switched partners and visited each other's centers. We had the chance to see the different slum communities and how they contrasted. Kusumpur is much larger than Nathupur, and much more built up, but the school in Nathupur has many more resources readily available in the classroom.
Thursday I went to ECCE with Dorota to talk to the teachers in training at Ritinjali. Dorota gave a presentation on behaviour management, supporting self-regulation, and supporting the different stages of social play. All of the students were engaged throughout and were able to take away lots of information. Afterwards we both touched on the topic of the week, which was "behaviour and manners". We displayed some of the activities that were implemented throughout the week and how they supported pro-social behaviour and common manners, such as turn taking and listening to others. Finally, we brainstormed plenty of different indoor gross motor games, and ended the session with a game of "what time is it Mr. Wolf?"
Saturday was so much fun! We had a picnic with Ritinjali. Everyone attended, the GBC students and teachers, the Ritinjali leaders, the Second Chance boys (Second Chance is a program giving boys aged 18+ a second chance to schooling and life), and the teachers that teach in the slum communities. We started off the day playing games and having a nature scavenger hunt. Then after lunch we took some dancing lessons from Shruti and Priyanuj. Once the picnic was over the ECE team headed over to Hanuman Temple, and Shree Adya Katyayani Shaktipeeth Mandir (also known as Chaatarpur temple). I wish I could describe how beautiful these places are, but my words and photos do not justice, it's something you have to see with your own eyes.
Now is the end of week three, one more week to go. I can't believe our time here has gone by so fast. We've all done so much, and put in a ton of hard work while here, but it still feels like there's so much more to do. I know we're all going to miss the children so much, I truly believe they have had a bigger impact on our lives then we've had on theirs. It's going to be hard saying good bye to these bright faces. I can't speak for everyone else, but I know this will not be my last time here.
See you in a week Canada!
Nicole Delahunty, ECE
Angeli Mae Marteja
March 5, 2018
By the time this has been posted, we will all be home again… Our Canadian homes, at least. We have all definitely left a piece of our hearts in India. The past month flew by faster than any of us could have expected.
The learning theme for our final week was “My Community”. While ECE philosophy believes in emergent curriculum, the week’s theme fit quite well with the children because of Holi. Originally a Hindu tradition, Holi is celebrated all over India to symbolize the triumph of good over evil, regardless of religion. The children and teachers greeted us each day with “Happy Holi!” while decorating everyone’s faces with colourful paints and powders. The learning centre also welcomed some local volunteers who assisted with food distribution and dancing, which further strengthened the feeling of community. It was truly a time of celebration, though I couldn’t help feeling sad because it meant that our placement was nearing its end.
After school was finished on Wednesday, the teachers from all the nearby learning centres came to the Ritinjali office and the four of us ECE students gave a presentation on our program planning. This presentation focused on our teacher-made materials and rationale behind curriculum. On Thursday, we did a similar presentation to the Ritinjali staff and our fellow George Brown students from the nursing and CYC programs. While we definitely discussed and assisted each other throughout the month of planning, this presentation was a nice culmination of all our goals and efforts. I can’t deny that I felt hopeless at times — that my short stay with the children wouldn’t make a difference. However, I realized that I don’t need to change everything immediately nor by myself. Our work was part of the ongoing change that began before our visit and will continue long after we return home… And then we will continue when we (definitely) go back!
As the perfect end to the trip, we had Friday off as it was the actual day for Holi! Holi is also a celebration of renewal, which is the exact way I felt at the end of this placement. We celebrated at a local community’s party with great food, music, and dancing — some of the community members even taught us their dance moves! Hours later and after some hugs and kisses from our dearest Shruti and Priyanuj, we were on our way home. Completing my fourth field placement in India was an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. There were no shallow goodbyes when we left, but instead, a sincere “Lok jege” (see you again).
Talk Back India 2017