Contrary to some funny ideas people have, here is an account of a typical action filled morning with the Reading Gogos at Daveyton Intermediate school.

As 9am approaches a small army of the more mature type of lady descends on the school’s media centre, intent on exchanging gossip whilst assembling stuff to use in their awaiting classes.

A highly diverse group of people, these volunteers are encouraged to do their own thing in interacting with children in grades 1-3, as just about any activity is extremely useful encouragement in the lives of these youngsters.

Some of us take on a whole class, starting with a rousing action song; the reason many of the ladies do not bother attending a gym!  Then a story may be told, with a bit of input from the children to keep it really interesting – “What sort of noise did the wicked monster make” or “Who shouts the loudest, a lion or an elephant?” The enthusiastic volume is testament to the enjoyment of the story.

Next, perhaps, a little craft activity, word search, spot the difference, jigsaws.  The children will try anything and it is a delight to see faces change from puzzlement to understanding as they try something new and it comes out right.

Other Gogos prefer working with small groups, doing similar activities as above with perhaps 6-8 children, often out of doors under the trees.

The grand finale of this interaction is often another rousing action song, followed by fond farewells, “we love you Gogos” and hugs from the children.  Then the Gogos totter off for a reviving cup of coffee and a mutual report back on how wonderful, awful, inattentive, inspiring and naughty the classes have been!

Children are the same everywhere and a little dose of being interested in them, encouraging, loving and enthusiastic goes a very long way.  And the big bonus for the Gogos is the privilege and opportunity of making a difference in lives, together with the surety of a great keep fit work out every week!


Vivienne Ridyard