We have just completed our second full week of school, and we continue to be amazed every single day. We knew long before school began that in order for even one day to be a success, it would require God's undeniable presence, the ochestration of countless events, and the cooperation of many people. This has proven to be true each day in many ways.
A significant part of the overall model of The Esther School is that it will over time, be a self-sustaining school that will be able to provide for itself by way of the sale of crops and goods that are raised on the school grounds. There are no school fees assessed to parents, and in return, parents are required to put in service hours at the school every month. We have been so encouraged to see the involvement and excitement already of parents as they begin to get involved and make this school their own. They are already filled with the pride of what this school can offer their children and their community, and they are actively working to make it a success.
What this looks like on a practical level is the daily involvement of parents on the school grounds. It all begins with an early arrival of parent volunteers to assist in the cooking and serving of breakfast. Following breakfast, there is clean up and then classroom assistance for the teachers throughout the school day. This involves helping serve snack, assisting children with hand washing and bathrooms, and participating with the children in their center times where they play and learn. Following the school day, parents help the teachers to sweep out and clean up the rooms and prepare them for the next day.
A PTA has also already been established, with it's first formal meeting this past Monday. It was so encouraging for us to see these leaders, who were nominated by their peers, take ownership and initiative, and begin to formulate plans for future school maintenance and growth. Just yesterday, the parent group met again as a whole, led in part by the members of the PTA, and next week work projects will begin! We are so excited to share the progress with you as it develops.
In the meantime, the student sponsorship program is so vital in helping the school to be established and to provide funding for the students' supplies and uniforms. We are so excited to share that as of today all of the students are sponsored!!! For those of you that have signed on to sponsor a child, you will be receiving the photo and name of your child shortly. What a blessing to give the gift of a Christian education to these dear and precious children!
We have also been so encouraged by the students in the classrooms each day. Not only is their attendance good, but students are arriving eager to learn and are actively participating in class. One parent excitedly shared with Kevin last week at the parent meeting that their child had spontaneously prayed on their own before dinner in their home for the very first time after being at the Esther School for less than one week. Amazing! It is evidence of the rate of growth they are experiencing and how God is blessing all of the efforts of so many. Their excitement each morning as we watch them skipping past our window in their uniforms on their way to school is priceless!