On Friday, April 27th, we went to a Montessori-based school called, Escuela Del Mundo to screen two classes. As soon as we drove up there was a very different vibe than at the Primaria and Kinder schools. The structure seemed a little more personal, in that it is a smaller school and that the parents and the teachers appear to have more of a connection to each other. They were very involved, and asked us lots of questions about our health screening process and how to properly care for their children’s teeth.
One very concerned mother approached us after the screening who asked about a recurrent decay on her son's tooth, saying that she had taken him to the dentist to get it filled, but it seemed to have come back right next to the restored area. It was sad to think that it may have been preventable. We discussed the process of recurrent decay and self-care, and she seemed to be much less worried afterwards – it’s amazing what a little knowledge can do!
The children at Escuela Del Mundo are mostly bi-lingual (English and Spanish), and many of them came from different parts of the world, which was interesting because for the first time in a number of days, we were conversing with children in our native language, English!
The program itself at the school was very inspiring. Coming from a country where we take so much for granted, and where so much of our education and leisure time has become about electronics, video games, and TV, it is so refreshing to see a school that focuses on child development the old fashion way. Singing, dancing, water balloon fights, playing outside – so much of this is referred to in our society back home as extracurricular activities, when really they should be the core. Quite frankly the children and people here seem much happier with the simple things. I wish we could take a page out of their book and learn from them!
Furthermore, the children were very trusting and grateful. They formed attachments to us quickly, and were very affectionate towards us. This definitely made it more difficult when we had to tell them about any decay that we found. The difference in the level of ECC at Escuela Del Mundo and the Primaria and Kinder school was quite shocking. I would estimate that Escuela Del Mundo had about 80% less ECC than the other schools, which made me both happy and sad at the same time. It is encouraging to know that the education that the teachers and parents are sharing with the students at Escuela Del Mundo is clearly paying off. Yet, only 5 minutes down the road, the kids there do not reap the same benefits. The causes are multifactorial but lower SES, culture, parent involvement, teacher priorities, etc. all immediately come to mind.
Escuela Del Mundo has implemented a system whereby the children brush their teeth after lunch. Even something as simple as this has clearly made a huge impact on their oral and overall health. It would be good to implement this system in all the schools but I don't know how realistic this would be.
The children @ EDM's overall knowledge of caries, how the caries start, how to prevent them and how to brush was exceptional, (especially compared to the other two schools) and this is a clear manifestation of the knowledge they are being provided.
The overall impact of the screening was a very positive one. The children were happy to see us, and they seemed eager to get their new toothbrushes and answer questions during the presentation. I left feeling encouraged and hopeful. If we have been able to make that much of an impact at Escuela Del Mundo, there is hope that we can create that much-needed change at the Primaria and Kinder schools in the future. :)