- Ana Maria M. y Yelitza B.
Looking back: 8 weeks with our own Ludoteca
Two months after opening our own Ludoteca en Los Olivos – Puerto Ordaz, we now make a pause to reflect and share with you how we got there and our experience so far.
In May 2022, we took a step that before the pandemic was just a dream. After a few bumps, we finally received the key for the space (a residential house), where Tepui could set its office. But the magic was, that in this space we will also be able to open the doors for the community and operate our own Ludoteca Tepui.
The space was in a mess: thus, we had to do some serious cleaning and repairs to make it suitable.
We began cleaning, straighten shelves and painting to make this a space worthy to carry children's dreams.
Despite the adversities that came along the way, we managed to transform the house in a modest, colorful space, done with love and ready to receive children!
Up to now, our experience has been working with Ludotecas functioning within the school. That made it “easier” to reach to children and teachers about how a Ludoteca works.
That is different with a Ludoteca that is open to the community, and the concept has not been so simple to explain: parents are familiar with a “day care” type of space, where they can drop their children and come back after a couple of hours. But that is not what we want. We are aiming for children to come along with their parents or representatives, so that they use this time to connect, share and have fun together.
It is hot in the space. Average temperature is 34°C, humidity 70% and we do not have air conditioner (we got a fan last week!). We have no tables or chairs as yet, but the children love the place so much that they don't even feel the heat. They have been noble, respectful and very engaged. Besides the free play time, we carry out activities that stimulate concentration, manage emotions and reinforce values. And of course, reading a story at the end of the session, promoting reading with the children and their companions.
We have learned that to work with the community you have to be meticulous so that the results are effective. We have observed the consequences that the pandemic left on children's education, for example the difficulty in reading and writing; we hear the testimonies about the financial difficulties, with parents leaving their children behind with relatives to look for better conditions.
The children that are visiting us come full of energy, they prepare for the visit and come along clean and groomed. They are the engine of our motivation to continue.
We are happy with the progress and acceptance, yet still have a long way to go. We recognize the need to increase awareness in the community (some parents still don’t go inside the ludoteca); we want to gradually extend our opening hours and in the next few months, incorporate community volunteers.
Tell us what you think, help us address this challenge about integrating a ludoteca in the community: How might we increase parents interest in spending time with their children playing?