16.1 By this time the children were getting restless and I could not imagine them sitting through the forthcoming sermon, so we took up the invitation to call by the kindergarten.
16.2 We planned to stay with our children until they were happy to let us go. We explained to them that this kindergarten would be like their Sunday school and we showed them the chapel where we would be for an hour.
16.3 A child welcomed us: "Your children will like it here - this is a caring place, not just minding. In the games room there is more to teach and amuse than most families have in their homes! The bigger children play billiards - the best table is reserved for adults and children who are capable and responsible - and there is chess in the reading room. I like the geography corner over there where the big globe is."
16.4 "About the only things we donít have," said the child, "are radio and television. We would love them too, but the partners say that they have spared no labour or expense to provide a healthy, stimulating environment for us and they are not prepared to let radio and television people in to spoil it."
16.5 "Looks like a school!" exclaimed my daughter. But the child responded, "Itís not like school. We have a lot of free time here. There are always several partners here to care for us. We have no regular teachers apart from our Sunday school teachers. About twice a week there is a structured lesson from one of the partners on a topic of interest, and usually there are as many adults as children to listen and put questions. Maybe itís the way school ought to be, but I canít imagine school ever being so free since most of the children of outsiders are very badly behaved."
16.6 "Youíre lucky to have your partners here with you in the day-time! I wish my parents could regularly come to my school, but theyíre always working, tired or busy," said my daughter. The child replied, "The partnersí children know that they are very fortunate - even the pool at this complex was designed for us. See how easy it is to hop into from here? I think the reason that thereís always partners here is that they have staggered work breaks and they like to spend time with us."
16.7 "Each child has their own work station in the project area," said the child, "and the partners help to choose the colours and layout each child likes best. Some of the projects the partners get us to do are great! We have made a real steam engine - although all the casting and machining was done in the factory for us. It took a long time, but now on days like this we use it to give rides to children outdoors."
16.8 "I just love coming to The Partnership with Mummy or Daddy, I know most of the partnersí children and thereís a place for me here," prattled on the child enthusiastically.
16.9 Our children soon caught the enthusiasm being transmitted and quite forgot about us, and even seemed a little pleased when we decided to leave them and listen to the sermon in the chapel.
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From The Partnership, by Graeme Doel.
Converted to HTML by Simon Grant, 2003.