Months ago when a clinic was held in Purushila, I brought along some coloring books, reading books and a few puzzles to try to keep the kids occupied during their long wait. I was astounded that not one child or teenager was able to put a simple jigsaw puzzle together. It wasn't even close. The kids were maddly jamming together any two pieces they randomly picked up. They did not notice when the pieces did not fit together. They had no concept of looking for matching colors or shapes. I had no success in trying to teach them that the edge pieces go around the outside. I knew that I needed some one-on-one time with each one to make any progress.
Today I had a chance to work one-on-one with students in Santa Ana on a 24-piece Winnie the Pooh puzzle. I showed and talked about edge pieces, about separating out the edge pieces, and about finding the four corner pieces and placing them. This was not a simple task, but each managed to persevere. When they managed to complete the puzzle once, I had them repeat the process. Even on the second attempt it was not a simple task, but I did note improvement. I think each was proud of herself. This may be the first time any of them have completed putting together a puzzle. The girls shown below are age 12 to 17.
Puzzles are great ways to develop thinking skills. Thinking skills are needed for progress in math and language.
My plan is to find more 24 piece puzzles and to have them keep practicing. Then I will increase the number of pieces and have them work in partners. I hope to see some big grins on their faces!
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012