Project volunteers at our Antelope Park project site continue to assist in three local schools as part of our ongoing school development projects.
At Mkoba 4 Primary we focus on assisting the teacher of the school’s Special Needs Class. The school currently has one qualified teacher to host the class of 24 children, aged 9-14 years, with a variety of learning disabilities. Whilst the teacher delivers the national curriculum in a specialized manner appropriate for the needs of these children, staff and volunteers provide children with individual attention that helps the child to focus on what they are being taught and giving them a better understanding of the lesson.
The children have been focusing on maths, and in particular, addition, subtraction and multiplication. In English, the lessons have focused on sentence construction. By the end of the first quarter of the year the special needs teacher has noted that there has been a great improvement with even the slower readers able to construct an English sentence. Children were encouraged every step of the way, especially for good work done and as a result of this, they have been displaying a greater eagerness to learn by being more attentive.
Nearby, Mudavanhu School for the Disabled specialises in providing essential life skills and education for children with mild to moderate mental disability. The school currently has 24 children and 8 full-time members of staff. All lessons are designed to meet the national curriculum where possible, but mainly to facilitate coordination, movement, cognition, and give children the skills and coping mechanisms to integrate into mainstream society, where possible.
Classes at Mudavanhu are set up according to levels of ability and operation, ranging from level 1 (being the reception class where basic gross motor skills are taught) to level 6 (practical class where they are equipped with self-help skills e.g. gardening, caring for poultry).
During this quarter, project volunteers have focused on assisting the level 5 class with a variety of activities:
- Numeracy: number identification from 0-20
- English: common animal picture identification, use and interpretation of traffic signals, identification of shapes and colouring within boundaries.
- Physical Education: focused on athletic disciplines
The teacher has remarked that due to the interaction with the project volunteers that the children’s social and communication skills have improved.
Mickey Mouse pre-school currently serves 230 children and offers a social and educational programme to prepare young children for school. It does so using the national curriculum, with prescribed educational content and assessment, to ensure children are able to master basic skills before their entrance into Grade 1 at school. Here project volunteers assist the school’s teachers with tasks ranging from classroom assistance to serving the children their daily meal.
This quarter volunteers have helped in arts and crafts where children were assisted in making valentines cards for Valentine’s Day, and Easter Egg Baskets in anticipation of the arrival of the Easter Bunny. In class activities, volunteers helped in the development of fine motor skills by teaching the children to colour within boundaries.
For their edutainment, children were placed in pairs and asked to sit down back to back. A balloon was placed between them with the goal for them being to stand up without popping or dropping the balloon. This game helps them to improve their communication, social skills and teamwork. This game was repeated over several visits to the pre-school to ensure the children mastered these concepts.
The teachers appreciated the activities as these were in line with the objectives to teach the children psycho-social, emotional development and physical development skills.
About Our School Development Projects
Our aim is to increase the capacity of the schools with which we work to offer higher learning possibilities for their pupils. All the schools surrounding our project sites are severely resource limited with classes that are over-crowded and lacking educational materials. Our projects therefore focus on: school building and refurbishment to create improved learning environments; resource provision of educational materials needed to enhance lessons, and teacher assistance to help teachers plan and run lessons more effectively. All programmes are operated in agreement with the school in question, and with approval from relevant educational boards.
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