Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: Kids in Cape Town


Xhosa prayer*

By Anna Concannon — I’ve been in Cape Town for about a week now.

My biological clock has finally adjusted, and so far everything is going  great.

It’s an amazing city with so many things to do, places to see, and people to talk to, all of whom are so friendly and enthusiastic about sharing their life experiences.

I had my first of six days at my service site, which is a pre-primary school located in a very poor township near Cape Town. There is little space inside, but the classroom contains posters, puzzles, toys, and letter and number flashcards for the kids to play with and practice. When children go to primary school, they learn in English, but at this age they speak Xhosa and only know numbers and a few words in English.

Outside, a once-glorious playground stands aligned with barbed wire fences, with ripped tire swings, torn climbing ropes, and loose bricks and garbage on the ground that the children play with. We played outside most of the day, and when they were bored, the teacher sometimes looked to me to teach them kids games and songs.

I felt a little overwhelmed at these moments because I had to think on my feet. I taught them the “head, shoulders, knees and toes” song and they already knew the Xhosa version of it, so that went well. They love moving around and singing.

As a future teacher, I never really considered early childhood education. There are so many children with a lot of needs to take care of and I was uncertain how I would do teaching them; however, I noticed that the children in this preschool are fairly independent for 4-6-year-olds. Being at this school is definitely a learning experience, especially because we communicate without understanding each other’s words.

Overall, my visit to the school was less hectic and more fun than I had expected. Next time I will come prepared with more songs and games to teach them. The kids are so loving and kind to each other and to their teachers. When we understand each other verbally or non-verbally and they smile at me, hug me, play with my hair, and even fight over holding my hands, I feel even more confident that working with children is my passion.

*Lord, bless Africa | May her spirit rise high up; | Hear Thou our prayers | And bless us. | Descend, 0 Spirit Descend, 0 Holy Spirit | Bless our chiefs; | N’lay they remember their Creator, | Fear Him and revere Him, | That He may bless them.

1 Response to “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: Kids in Cape Town”

  1. 1 Lauren June 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I love you Anna! Those kids probably loved you!!!!!! I can’t wait to read next week!!!!!!! 🙂 ❤


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