No Baby Steps For Us!!

We’re expecting!!

It’s not just our beautiful children who are growing like weeds, after only our first year of operation our school is ready for some new classrooms. Our fundraising goal for this next extension is $20,000. Please contact us if you would like to help us reach our goal and start adding classrooms, or Adopt-a-Classroom (or wing) and name it after a company, group or a loved one! Contact us for more info by email.

This growth is accelerating even faster due to a fortuitous turn of events as the Tanzanian government have purchased the neighbouring plot of land and are building a Regional Municipal Administrative building. What comes with this building is most exciting for us as it means a new paved road at no charge to us!!

This solves one of our biggest challenges – getting waitlisted children to our school who live too far to walk. Now we can begin to use our donated school bus as soon as the paving is done. Very exciting for many families!!

Word of the quality reputation of our school  has spread and we have families wanting to come from far and wide as soon as the road problem is solved, as the heavy rains wash the roads out regularly, despite our efforts of repair.

Please see our newsletter for a full update.Image Continue reading

Great Gala!

Many thanks for everyone who came out to enjoy our musical extravaganza and help support the launch of the Dream Big Montessori School! Sufficient funds were raised to pay for final construction jobs and opening costs to get the school open for the January school year. We are now up and running with two Montessori trained teachers, a lunch cook, a solar kiosk technician and groundskeeper and guards. We have opened with 20 very excited students who love love love to go to school!! Even some of our parents spend time at school, enjoying exposure to this good quality education.

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You are invited to a celebration of project completion! Get your tickets now!

SkoolAidGalaChandelierC-4

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First Art Class Ever! – Loving our Beautiful Colourful Zebras!

Neema's Zebra

Art is so fun!

Look at my zebra!

Playing with colour

Mixed media

Drying paintings

I love art!

We are painting these!

The love of art!

Sophie helps

First the outline

Art together

Visiting for the Grand Opening of the Dream Big Montessori School, Susan Bibbings conducted a wonderful Vancouver-Mwanza school to school international art swap project thanks to  Vancouver teacher Laura Clancy. It was Laura’s idea to have her Vancouver Kindergarten students paint BC salmon which Susan transported as a gift to the Dream Big School, then the new students painted Tanzanian zebras as a gift back to the Vancouver young artists. It was the first time these children had done art, and it was a magical experience for them. Their art is truly magnificent and the children showed they have an innate love of colour! These works of zebra art will be on display February 15th and the Skoolaid Musical Gala, and will also be made into gift card sets. Thank you Laura for your wonderful bridge of art and friendship!! Here are some of Laura’s students BC salmon on permanent display at the Dream Big School…

Salmon close-up

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School is open! Classes in session! Big smiles all around!

Completed School Buildings with Corn

Completed School Buildings with Corn Crop to be used for School Lunches

Here is the Dream Big Montessori School – completed at long last! Classes began January 2013 at the Nursery level (ages 4-6 years) taught by our Montessori trained nursery teachers George and Sophie, who are living on site on the second floor of our wonderful solar kiosk enjoying the truly stunning views of the green valley in the distance. Ten new windows needed to be added to these two blocks, according to the school inspector, which have turned out very well and add even more light into the classrooms, library and office. Replastering has been finished as well as a fresh coat of paint which looks great!

School Breezeway

PE class

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First Day of School!

It is with great happiness that I can announce that the Dream Big Montessori School opens its doors for the first time tomorrow, Thursday, January 10th!

There was a 2 day delay as we were just informed by the school inspector at the final school inspection that he wanted a total of 10 windows in the school. So we rushed to remove some of our brick walls to have the new windows added. But now this last minute issue has been swiftly addressed class starts first thing Thursday morning for our beautiful new school, registered at long last by the Tanzanian Ministry of Education. It has been a long and difficult path since Fall 2009, but as of tomorrow the school will be a reality for these children and their families. Thank you everyone who helped along the way.

First Day of School – January 8th 2013!

After overcoming many unimaginable obstacles, the Dream Big Montessori School opens its doors January 8th, 2013! Teachers George and Sophie are preparing the classrooms for the start of the school year with Sister Denise’s invaluable help. Registration is well under way as the enrollment climbs. It may not be full for opening day, but this is not uncommon it seems as many adopt a wait-and-see policy on this strange new wonderful project – so unlike anything most have seen. We are told as soon as people see the high level of education we are offering our problem will be a waiting list. A final fundraising blast is happening on this side of the world, to fund final odd jobs like library shelving, weather-proofing, septic tank installation, inspection costs and school supplies – particularly crayons, pencil crayons and watercolours which are difficult to source in-country. Please contact us to help with our final $5000 requirement! Thanks to the extraordinary heart and caring shown to these children from all donors (from our generous corporate sponsors to our lemonade stand kid heroes!) This has truly been a massive team effort – and we are soon realizing our shared dream – GO TEAM DREAM BIG!!!

Final Bureaucratic & Legal Obstacles Overcome!

Schoolhouse View – 99% Completed

Some of the Project’s Extraordinary Volunteers Onsite

Hats off to these amazing volunteers from BC who came to Africa on their own steam to join this one month marathon build, to help a community with no school, no safe water source & no power. Sweaty and dusty, toiling in the hot sun everyday, these remarkable volunteers did the near impossible, and turned a piece of raw jungle into a school, safe filtering water well, and solar power station which operates as a micro-business to help fund operating costs of the village school. Many many thanks to all who made such phenomenal contributions. What a focused hard-working group of rock star volunteers!!

Tanzanian Red Tape

An extra dose of patience is required in the Tanzanian new school registration process! After two weeks of long days and late late nights of paperwork while swatting those darn malarial mosquitoes, we are finally at Step 6 of an 8 step registration and permitting process.  However, we need to finish our septic field first to pass our physical school requirement Step 7 and the rains from the rainy season make that a waiting game too. Once the earth dries up we can finish our toilet system. In the meantime we have built two ‘bonus’ toilets at a higher grade elevation which will likely become the teacher’s and adult visitor only ones. We know our school will not pass inspection until the main toilet system is functional, of course, and nothing moves too fast over here, that’s for sure!

Solar Kiosk needs metal cladding on second residence level to keep rains in check. Temporary double outhouse toilets on left side beautifully built by local builder.

One other final exterior job is to clad in metal sheeting the second floor above the solar kiosk, which is to be the teachers’ accommodation as the BC plywood we have finished it in is not tough enough in the rainy season. We have painted it white for now, but we need to add a final exterior layer of metal once we can fundraise the amount required for this job. Donation button coming soon to this site – Yeah!!