Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm
Sekere and Song
We begin each morning at Kibolebole with Sekere and Song. Playing and singing together helps us connect to each other, our ancestors and the universal forces that guide our work. I am grateful to Ifagbemi Osunponle Oriyomi for introducing me to this healing instrument and for giving me permission to share her knowledge with the girls. When I first began this ritual, I thought that we should play each morning for a certain amount of time. I treated it like “practice”. I have come to understand that it is prayer. Now, we play until we FEEL connected. Usually for about 30 minutes, sometimes twice as long. We bring that connectedness to our “academic” school day. Our work becomes as and joyful and harmonious as our Sekeke and Song.
Most days, Math follows Sekere and Song. Each session begins with applications (word problems). Baba Wekesa Madzimoyo, Co-Director of AYA Educational Institute, reminds us that true learning must include: context, relevance and emotion. I write the word problems for each girl myself. They include the mathematical concepts that they are working on, of course, and they also include the names of their friends and family members and scenarios that they are currently experiencing. Students are encouraged to draw pictures and to use symbols of their own creation to solve the problems. Only after a student has understood a concept through her own lens do I introduce her to the symbols and terminology that are typically associated with the concept.
Once we get connected through Sekere and Song and study Mathematics we usually begin our work in Language Arts. Our work supports our Ourstorical and Political Studies. This semester we are taking a course in Twi offered by AYA Educational Institute. It is a wonderful course that teaches Twi language and Akan culture through the study of Adinkra. This has given us two important things beyond language and cultural acquisition. We experience our own literary traditions and we have plenty of opportunities to think and write deeply as we reflect upon our ancestral wisdom
Ourstory and Political Studies are (along with Science and Engineering) the most important courses at Kibolebole. We learn who we are and what we must do in order to help our people achieve Sovereignty. Mwalimu Baruti and Ena Yaa Baruti remind us that our struggle for Sovereignty is a multi-generational one. It is this long term process of Sankofa that we are both preparing for and engaging in. We study our culture, leaders and resistance in depth and often from primary sources. Recently we have been reading the first chapter of Race First by Tony Martin in order to build a timeline of Garvey’s life and to understand the times in which he lived. Some might say that this text is beyond the capabilities of elementary school students; I have found that, with support and time for related activities, these “adult” texts are not only appropriate but enjoyable.
Science and Engineering
I enjoy teaching Science and Engineering tremendously. (My formal education is in the sciences; I majored in Physics at Spelman.). Last year I worked with a group of students in preparation for the science fair. As we researched our topic, Melanin, we were careful to begin our study with our own scientists (Moore, Welsing, Fu-Kiau, King) and to re-conceptualize what we learned from european sources into an Afrikan World View.