Arriving in El Hato it was clear that my talented predecessor Emma (and her right-hand man Jonathan) had left nothing short of a legacy behind in so many respects. From the vast library to the extent of the arts curriculum, and of course a quantity of art supplies to make any school teacher jealous. Notable amongst the ‘art supplies’ were the mountains of wool awaiting their life in a new form…
Thanks to the incredible GUPP Yarn Bombing project crocheting was a very popular past time in El Hato and it was always with sadness that when asked ‘podemos tejer?’ (can we crochet?) I had to admit I couldn’t teach it – I didn’t know how.
Still – just because I couldn’t teach it – it didn’t mean that the kids who’d learned this ‘dark-art’ couldn’t pass it on. So, along with good friend and knitting extraordinaire, Kira we untangled and sorted the extensive wool collection re-stocked the crochet needles – bought some knitting needles for good measure – and set up the El Hato Craft Club.
The club started out with knitting, crochet and paper-bead making but taking inspiration from Choza Chula in El Paredon, we introduced jewelry making which fast became the most popular activity in town. Over the summer holidays we opened up Craft Club most afternoons due to popular demand.
What was interesting for me, about this project was that – against my own expectations – many of the boys in El Hato were just as enthusiastic about knitting and making bracelets as the girls.
This project was also really special for me because it wasn’t about the teachers at all – after some initial sessions it was the kids teaching each other and sharing ideas – I was just there to hang out and make sure no one took our entire bead collection home with them! It demonstrated that peer-led-learning is just as valuable (in my opinion more valuable) than teacher-led education.