Friday, 8 February 2013

Knitting + Romania

At first I think everyone thought I was crazy. Teach fourth graders how to knit! I will admit it was a daunting task. How did I come up with this idea? Let me back up a bit...

For over ten years my husbands school has worked with Hope and Homes for Children. They are an international charity that works to close down unsafe institutional facilities and places children in smaller family homes. They do what they can to reunite families and keep siblings together.

When we were in Romania last year we spent our time visiting the small family homes that are wonderful places for children to live. Last year we painted, helped with renovations, made mărțișors, hosted a karate show (then over the summer sent the children to a karate sleep away camp), brought a guitar (then funded guitar lessons for the children), played games, danced, sang, got to know the children and made a difference in their lives. They might not know it but they changed each and every one of us.  

The following month at my school we were studying Romania so I made this prezi to share some of my experiences with my students.

So back to knitting... my students wanted to find a way to show their support. They wanted to do something special and unique for the children in Romania. Student Council in Lower School is fourth graders so, 9 and 10 year olds, that decided they wanted to learn how to knit! Every single one of them will tell you that at first it wasn't easy. They had to try and try again, they got frustrated at times but had to stick with it, they encouraged one another, helped each other and eventually they got it and began to love it! Students knit small squares and yes, there was a huge celebration with lots of cheering each time one of us completed another square. With the help of staff and parents we were able to knit enough squares to sew together to make a beautiful quilt. We will take the quilt with us to Romania along with a beautiful card to give to the children in one of the small family homes we will visit. I will do my best to take pictures and video so that I can share their reaction with my students who worked so hard to make this beautiful gift.

Each student got a ball of yarn (color of their choice) and their own set of knitting needles!

They practiced and worked at it until they got it. After that it was easy and fun!

Here are some of the completed squares...

And the finished, beautiful quilt!

Our warm and cozy quilt!

So many of my students have learned to love knitting. It was music to my ears when they asked me if they could take their knitting supplies home over the winter break. Some of them were asking for knitting needles and yarn instead of video games for the holidays. It would make me smile when they would run to me in the mornings to turn in some squares that they had knitted with grandma or another relative. Grade 4 loves knitting so much that I have started up a knitting club!  

We leave for Romania bright and early Sunday morning. I can't wait to share more about our trip when we return!

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