The younger Happy House kids were jumping as if on springs when teacher Md Louisa led a Jolly Phonics workshop. Jolly Phonics is a muliti-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets children reading and writing from an early age. It has been introduced to the Kenya Curriculum this year. The child absolutely love it and are getting good results because of it.
Papa Dave is a born entertainer and the children at Happy House love his stories and jokes. He also plays a game where he pretends to predict the future. They all know it's nonsense but even so they gather round, palms outstretched ready for him to tell them their future,. It's just a bit of fun.
Our keen Happy House youngsters spent some of their half-term holiday working in the garden. Learning to grow and tend crops is essential in Kenya and something that every one is eager to do. Our kids enjoy gardening, harvesting crops and eating the produce our garden provides. And they also appreciate how lucky they are to have vegetables and fruit that come from the garden to the kitchen.
It was the older girls versus the older boys in the singing contest at the weekly Kidz Club at Happy House. Fahima was chosen as the judge - a pretty momentous task as all our singers are so good. Mama and Papa were away for the day so Janet and Evans took charge of running Kidz Club - with Janet chairing the activity and Evans taking the videos. After listening to both choirs, Fahima chose the boys as the winners. Well done lads!
A week of lunchtime cookery classes with Mama Sue at Happy House ended as it should have started with beefburgers. The menu had to change at the last minute at the start of the week when butcher couldn't get the beef for the mince in time, but on Friday it was ready first thing. Burger king ,Papa Dave, cooked the burgers which, topped salad and sauce, were served in bred rolls cooked freshly that morning. Delicious!
Kids living at the Happy House don't sit about in the school holidays. They like to be busy and active. They organise themselves a rota to help with chores around the house, whilst also having lots of time for relaxing playing games, learning new things or building on subjects they are studying. In this video, we feature our laundry helpers with presenters Husna and Ali
There was some fancy footwork going on at Happy House in half-term. The kids have a varied programme of activities - a mix of helping around the house, educational fun, games or dancing. Our presenter on this video is Brian Hayward who is with the dancers in the banda.
Boy power came into play when new chairs needed transporting from our joinery workshop at Happy House to our school. The new chairs, made by Uncle Charo and his assistant, will be used in our classrooms when school resumes after half-term. The boys, of all ages, offered to help by carrying them the short journey down the lane. And when Evans asks: What do we have? There is one resounding answer: BOY POWER!
As soon as school breaks up for a holiday, our children at Happy House organise themselves into groups to help around the house. In this video, Oscar tells you a little more about what have planned and what the group he is with are doing in the kitchen.
The old saying that "Too many cooks spoil the broth" couldn't be further from the truth at Happy House. When Mama Sue decided on chicken curry for one of her half-term cookery classes, she had lots of kids wanting to help. The washed and chopped the vegetables, made and baked the accompanying garlic bread, and dished up an absolute feast for all the family.
Meat was off the menu at Happy House when the butcher failed to get his delivery. We are used to improvising (anything can happen in Kenya) so instead of teaching the children to cook beefburgers, Mama decided on a good thick soup loaded with vegetables. It was hands on for her helpers as they washed, peeled and chopped the ingredients, while others made bread rolls to go with it. A tasty lunch, enjoyed by all!
For half-term week, our children at Happy House are having fun in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes. As our followers will know, the kids love to help and there is always a queue of eager volunteers wanting to give Auntie Phillis a hand in the kitchen. Mama Sue and Papa Dave are working with them this week, introducing some treat dishes - starting off with pancakes!
The new curriculum in Kenya stretches beyond educational development, it also monitors children's growth. At Happy House School, our KG children have been weighing in to meet the curriculum requirements. Here teacher, Md Louisa assists Md Neema to weigh and make a record of each child's weight.
They again won the weekly sing-off between boys and girls at Kidz Club at the Happy House. Thomas was this week's judge. Two birthdays were celebrated - Priscilla is now 12 and Baraka Kaingu is nine. Mama Sue presented Priscilla with her birthday gifts and Papa Dave had the honour of handing Baraka his gifts. Happy birthday children.
Sporting youngsters from Happy House School were victorious in matches against Watamu Junior Academy. The football team triumphed with a score of 5-0 while the netball team drew 3-3 in their match. In the football match, Gift scored a hat-trick while John scored two goals. A group of seven pupils was chosen to proceed to the next level, they are Brian, Gift, John, Oscar and Collins and in netball, Neima and Lucy. Meet them in this video along with teacher, Mr Duncan and Md Hilda. Well done kids.
On the eve of half-term, Mama Sue brings a a video update on what's happening at Happy House - and what is coming up. She also asks if anyone travelling to Watamu could help deliver some vital medical items for her, personally, as the post is unreliable. Mama Sue also appeals for our friends to fundraise to help meet escalating costs of maintaining and running Happy House and its vehicles so that we can provide the best standard of care and education to those children we look after. Please help if you can. Every penny donated will help give our children a brighter future.
It has mid-term exams at Happy House this week. All our pupils in school have been working hard to revise and as part of preparing them for the tests to come, Mama Sue and our social worker, Uncle Ronald, have visited each class to give the children some encouragement. Mama is a real believer in boosting the children's spirits and in keeping them focused on their goals - in this case the best results they can achieve.
It was crunch time at Happy House for Oscar's birthday! Sue and George Clayton, who are in Oscar's sponsor family, very kindly made a donation to buy a birthday treat for all the children to help him celebrate. And because we are a very democratic family, Mama Sue asked the children to vote for what they would like the treat to be. They chose apples. Apples are expensive in Kenya so we don't have them very often, so it was so nice for everyone to be able to tuck in. The rest of the donation Sue and George sent will go towards the shoe fund - buying new shoes is an on-going expense with so many growing feet in our family! Thank you Sue and George from Oscar and all our children.
Happy House kid Natasha became a singing judge at Kidz Club. Mama Sue asked her to choose the winners of the weekly contest between the boys and the girls. It was a hard fought contest, with everyone singing their hearts out, but Natasha deliberated on a little before making her choice. There were two birthdays to celebrate at Kidz Club too - Brian Hayward (top left) who is nine and Lucky (right) who is eight. Happy birthday boys.
Using android tablets in our Happy House School has brought our secondary students on in leaps and bounds. They have been using the tablets to research subjects they are learning in school. Working in groups at Happy House, in their free time, they are have enhanced their knowledge. Because of the results the students are getting, Mama Sue is now keen to timetable online research at school.
Staff from the Kenya Government spent a day at Happy house registering all our children.Every person in Kenya, nationals and non-nationals living there, must be on the new register after which they will be issued with a Huduma number that is unique to them and which will be required in the future by all services they may need to access. It was a long process but we were happy to co-operate and to ensure that everyone was registered correctly.
Everyone plants maize, the staple crop in Kenya, in the weeks leading up to the start of the rains. And that's just what we've done in our garden at Happy House. The kids enjoy helping in the garden and as Evans reports now that the rains have started and set in, the seeds they planted are growing fast. Once ready to harvest, the maize will go into our kitchen to feed our children.
Now is the time our Form 2 secondary school children at Happy House are taking their options. After listening to career talks, undertaking research, and talking to their teachers, these students are deciding what subjects they would like to concentrate on in future. This will take them forward, in the next two years, to their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education which they will sit at the end of the their final high school year. Here they are with Mama Sue as they talk through their choices.
Mama Sue was delighted to welcome two visitors, holidaying in Watamu, when they called in to visit Happy House. Jack Pennington and Brodie Hibberd, from Wimbledon, had seen our liveried school buses around the village and decided to come to find out more about the place behind the name." Mama Sue said: They brought us nappies, deodorants, clothes, toothpaste and exercise books. "Uncle Ronnie showed them around both home and school, they were very impressed and surprised how lovely everywhere is."
There are many ways of getting in touch with your Happy House sponsor child, Emails are the easiest and Uncle Ronald, our social worker, goes through each with the child it has been sent to, explains anything they don't understand, and prints it out for them to keep in their memory box. For birthdays, cards are wonderful but sometimes the post takes so long, they arrive after the day and postage is costly, E-cards are another way of greeting your sponsor child on their birthday and they absolutely love them.
Here Mama Sue views an e-card sent to Elizabeth for her fourth birthday.
As we heard from Mama Sue, the rains have brought problems with some of our makuti thatched roofing. But local craftsmen have been on the job, making good any areas that have shown leaks, as Uncle Ronald, our social worker, reports.
It's highly skilled work but was done quickly and efficiently using makuti tiles made local from locally grown palm.
The work is now completed and our roffing is watertight once again, So all in all, it may have cost us £400 but that will be putting food on the tables of local people.
There was lots of singing and lots of celebration at Happy House when it held its weekly kidz club.
9t is a time when birthday children of the week receive their greetings and gifts. This week's birthday were Husna who is 13, who received her gift from Papa Dave, Jacinta 13, Elizabeth 4 and Said 9. It was certainly their favourite day!
Every week Happy House holds Kidz Club - a time when the whole family, children and staff, come together to share news and to celebrate birthdays, And as part of this there is a fun sing-off between the boys and girls. The competition is usually judged by Mama, Papa, a member of staff or a visitor but this week Mama invited one of the kids, Charity, to pick the winner. It wasn't easy, but she came down on the side of the girls - who were clapping and cheering at their victory. Here you can see her making her choice and the two choirs she had to choose between!
Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics which has now been introduced to the pre-primary curriculum in Kenya. With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory method is motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. Happy House paid for pre-primary teachers from Happy House School to go on a course during the Easter holidays so they would have a good understanding of how Mama Sue said:"They really enjoyed it, and have been given materials to use. They are really excited about the new methods. "It is great that we can use the our computers and the children's android tablets in class. "We look forward to seeing the results this new programme brings." In this video Teacher Neema is our guide.
Secondary school lasts for four years in Kenya, and it is a time when young people focus on achieving the results to take them on into the workplace. So at Happy House we feel that it is important for them to hear from professionals about their field of work and the route that led them to it. Engineer Justin Juma joined Mama Sue for an informative session with students. He is a self employed engineer who fitted our electric fences and the CCT cameras at our school and a really nice man. His company is called Jazz Enterprises. He described his school life where students were beaten with sticks and how he grew up in the constant shadow of family poverty. His determination to gain knowledge and skill got him into engineering school and now has a successful business with eight staff.