MUSKOGEE (TNS) — Educators around the globe face many of the same challenges of coming up with creative ways to engage youngsters in the learning process while stretching the funds their institutions allocate for the teaching process.


That concept rang true on Monday as educators from two continents met in Muskogee to share ideas and learn from each other at the Muskogee Early Childhood Center. Center Director Malinda Lindsey, her staff and students played host to educators from Malawi, located in southeastern Africa.


Vincent Kalua is director of education at a school in Malawi, while Godwin Chirambo serves as director of early childhood education. Both are associated with the Church of Central Africa and are visiting for several weeks in eastern Oklahoma visiting a variety of spots, said Jeff Cranton, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Muskogee.


Cranton was playing host to the African educators and said in addition to visiting schools in eastern Oklahoma, the pair also has visited museums, ministries and other locations.


Lindsey told the guests that parents often bring items from home and donate to the school for student recycling use. Those items vary from plastic soda bottles made into colorful chandeliers to an artistic rendering of a Christmas tree constructed from an old stepladder decorated with used lights and topped with a star made of the cardboard tubes from used paper towels.


“We like to share because that makes us all better,” Lindsey said.


She guided Chirambo and Kalua through a typical day at the school with teachers starting the day out with required learning with the Muskogee Public School’s literacy rotation tasks and then moving on to other interactive learning activities.


Lindsey said to help stretch the school’s budget, teachers share a variety of learning tools by rotating instructional materials and moving students from a variety of areas. The rooms vary from a music room to one focused on learning basic science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM topics.


“We share a lot. We don’t buy resources for every single classroom. We’ve grown beyond that and know we can stretch our budget better by sharing among classes,” Lindsey said. “If we had to buy all of this for every classroom, we’d never have enough money to go around.”