Coping with Stress at Natebe Primary
March 19 2015

The Natebe Kids’ Club teaches rural children leadership and initiative taking skills that can help them to be successful in education, work, and life in general.  This last weekend, this objective was met in a way that ran slightly deeper than expected.

On March 14th, our team went to Natebe Primary School to deliver the weekly Kids’ Club lesson to over 50 excited children. The session began with the children deliberating over the qualities of a good self-manager, and the words calm, organised, planning, confident, motivated, on time, and prepared came back to their memory. It must be noted that one particular little girl, Veronica, demonstrated her diligence by recalling all the words that our team taught the group the previous week. We are very proud of her!

For the next activity, the children were asked to come up with a list of at least 10 of their daily activities, which proved to be a rather fun activity for them. They excitedly shouted-out things that they did that were perhaps not in any other child’s routine, and our team encouraged them and assisted with their spelling as they compiled their lists. 

As with everyone, the children’s routines included things that they did and did not enjoy. Stress is often not a well fleshed-out concept in the mind of a child, however, this simple exercise helped them to identify some tasks that they do not enjoy and were perhaps a cause for stress. The point hit home when the children were asked how many of them enjoyed playing football compared to washing the pots - the response was unanimous.

To take their understanding of stress a step further, our team linked the idea of stress with their emotions: what made them feel anxious, worried, sad, or perhaps even made them cry? We discussed this as a class and explained how many of us find it difficult to talk about these things. They were very thoughtful and came up with example situations such as: being sick, fighting with their parents or friends, being hungry, being beaten or dealing with death and funerals.

These are sensitive topics for these children, and as we are deeply invested in their welfare, it was great to see that what started as a theoretical exercise changed into something more heartfelt; giving us an opportunity to help the children begin to understand how to process difficult emotions. The children were lead in a discussion about the importance of talking about their emotions - as this is the first step to dealing with them. In a future session, in order to ensure that this topic is covered and processed properly by the children, we will be discussing various practical ways of dealing with stressful situations.

To lighten the mood, the lesson was concluded with a game of Hangman run by the team. All the words were chosen from the ones they had encountered during the day’s lesson. They played with great enthusiasm and some were able to guess the word once only a few of its letters were filled in.

It was then time to go play games outside class. It had been a very successful and busy Kids Club session!  However, our team and the children are certainly looking forward to next week.

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