Back to School Time
October 13 2016

For the Special Needs Class at Mkoba 4 Primary School in Gweru, Zimbabwe, it is the final term before students are assessed by psychologists from the Ministry of Education.  This assessment will be used by the Ministry to determine which children will be moved back into mainstream education.

As students have been on a six-week long holiday, initially, they were finding it difficult to settle back into lessons.  Furthermore, they are not usually given holiday homework, so when the term starts they have difficulty remembering some of what they have been taught in the previous terms.  As such, the first days of the new term have focussed on a revision of concepts taught in the second term.

In mathematics, students revised four digit vertical addition and subtraction, with two digit carrying.  70% of them performed well, showing they had remembered the concepts.  The 30% of students who were struggling were given extra, individual attention to get them up to speed.

In English, lessons focussed on a variety of comprehension activities.  Students were individually asked to read a portion of a story and then orally answer questions to ensure they understood what the story was about.  They were then tasked with writing down the answers to comprehension questions, which also aided in assessing their spelling and sentence construction abilities.  On average, 60% of students have shown improvement due to the help given to them during the second term.

As students have performed relatively well during revision lessons, we look forward to good results at term end.

Mudavanhu School for the Disabled

Mudavanhu School for the Disabled is situated in the high density area of Mkoba in central Zimbabwe.  This school specialises in providing essential life skills and education for children with mild to moderate mental disability.

In September, horse therapy sessions resumed.  Students were eager to be back at Antelope Park stables to interact with the horses.

To begin with, students assisted with grooming the horses.  All showed confidence being around the horses, with some even giving them a hug.  During riding sessions, students had to stretch their arms out, move them in a semi-circle, move them up and down, and hold and let go of the reins.  These exercises were done to enhance gross motor skills, improve self-esteem, boost confidence, help strengthen the children physically, improve their communication and help them confront their fears.

Monde Pre-School, Victoria Falls

Building was completed a few months ago on the classroom for the Monde Pre-School, but resources are still needed to ensure the learners continue positively with their progress towards primary school.

In recent months, volunteers from our partners at African Impact have painted the alphabet and numbers on the inside of the pre-school, and provided the classroom with much-needed resources in the form of posters about songs, maths, shapes and colours.  Pictures were drawn to go along with the alphabet, as is expected in the curriculum for pre-schools in Zimbabwe.

This past week, after a generous donation from a community partner in Harare, we were able to donate 40 chairs to the pre-school, which was chronically lacking seating with learners often crowding together on benches for lessons.  Alongside the chairs, we were also able to donate two small chalkboards and plenty of chalk to assist the teachers with their lessons.

ALERT staff were happy to see what a great reception the donation received, and we believe it will go a long way in ensuring a better learning environment for the school’s children.

Maunga Grade 8 and 9 Classroom

A new classroom has been completed at Maunga School in the rural Maunga community on the outskirts of Livingstone in Zambia.  The building will allow the school to offer grade eight and nine classes to the community for the first time.

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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