In her youth, Nerry dreamed of becoming a teacher. Once she had her family, she thought her dream would remain unfulfilled. Little did she know that Plan would help rekindle her enthusiasm and help make her dream a reality.
Nerry, a 40-year old mother of nine children, is the only parent-volunteer for the Supervised Neighborhood Play program in her village. After successfully completing training conducted in the Philippines by Plan, Nerry now runs a cost-effective and practical early education program for children under the age of six from her home.
The journey was not an easy one. To reach North Samar, where the classes were held, Nerry had to travel by way of “balato” (small rowing boat) for five hours and then traverse rugged roads for another hour.
In the training, Nerry learned about Plan’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program. With excitement and enthusiasm, she realized that with a three-hour session thrice a week, she could fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.
Nerry was determined on completing the training. She prepared assignments; she researched various indigenous games played by the children in her community; she collected recyclable materials to learn how to produce indigenous toys and learning visuals.
At one point, to afford transportation, Nerry made extra “kutsinta” (rice delicacy) which she sold to raise money for her weekly boat rides.
In October 2005, Nerry proudly graduated from Plan’s SNP program – one of only two graduates out of the initial 40.
And classes begin!
Every morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, around 15 children and their mothers come to Nerry’s house for sessions. During this time, her small living room transforms into a learning and play area for her students.
For the next three hours, through play and games, Nerry teaches action songs, discusses about the weather, colors and shapes, and about numbers and their symbols. She allows the children to share about their day-to-day life. Nerry helps children discover the environment through art activities. She also reads them stories.
How does Nerry feel today?
Nerry finds ultimate joy and fulfillment in seeing the developments of the children attending her sessions. “At first, they were very shy, but they learned after few weeks. I am happy that they can do the action songs, can recognize colors and solve simple puzzles. They can also write their names.” She proudly relates.
With these little achievements, Nerry looks forward to the time when there will be more parent teachers for SNP. She’s already convinced three parents to participate in the next training.
Teaching has given Nerry a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. Now, she is not just a mother to nine children, but to all the young children under her care.
Through SNP, she has rediscovered the real meaning of parenting, the kind of parenting that goes beyond the borders of her home.
Learn more about Plan's work in the Philippines