This year, our Afterschool Club at the Rose of Charity Orphanage in Victoria Falls has started to adopt ALERT’s Basic Life Skills Course. We aim to help the orphans gain essential skills needed to operate effectively in society in an active and constructive way. Topics in the course include; self-esteem, coping with stress, effective communication, decision making, problem solving and non-violent conflict resolution.
On the 9th of February, we incorporated a design and build challenge as part of a learning module based around teamwork and innovation. The intention was to set the children a problem to creatively solve together.
The session began by placing two objects slightly apart from each other and asking the children to design a link over the gap, effectively building a bridge. Once each child had created a design they were encouraged to discuss their individual solutions and to suggest possible improvements to each other.
Next, the learners had to physically build a bridge. The children were split into two groups and told they could only use materials that they could find around the area, and must include a minimum of four items. They were then given some string and asked to work together in their teams to build their bridges. Within moments a leader naturally appeared in both groups, and all team members enthusiastically set off to search for and collect their materials. The children cooperated well with each other, collectively working through their ideas to build their bridges.
Considering that these children are new to the teaching methods and syllabus of the Basic Life Skills Course, their genuine enthusiasm for the lessons so far is encouraging for the project. The interaction of the students during the lesson also showed good development in various sections of the course framework as they worked well in teams, were able to self-manage the implementation of their designs, and resolve any disputes that arose. We’re confident we will see continued growth in life skills as we carry on the syllabus in weeks to come!
About Kids Club
Kids Club is our opportunity to implement our Basic Life Skills Course. The aim of the course is to assist children and adolescents to gain essential skills needed to operate effectively in society in an active and constructive way. Topics in the course include; self-esteem, coping with stress, effective communication, decision making, problem solving and non-violent conflict resolution. The course has been developed by David Brackstone of John Taylor High School, UK using a programme in use at that school and adapted for use in our schools in Africa.
About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)
Basic Life Skills courses are one aspect of the work of our ALERT Education Centres. The AEC operations at Livingstone (Zambia), Victoria Falls and Antelope Park (Zimbabwe) are all aimed at supporting the formal education system by offering extra-curricular activities to enhance student learning, and assisting with access to education for vulnerable students. Current programs include the provision of classes in conservation education, basic life skills, and English literacy. In addition, we provide funding to pay the fees of vulnerable students to take part in education from pre-school to university level, and fully funded internship and facilitated research placements for university level students. Future programmes will incorporate classes in numeracy, health & nutrition, physical education and business studies/entrepreneurship, as well as a variety of vocational training. The AEC is operated in association with Coventry University (UK), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) and Copperbelt University (Zambia), and with the assistance of David Brackstone of John Taylor High School (UK). The first AEC, at Antelope Park, was opened in 2012 by the then Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Mr. David Coltart.
Join us at the AEC
There are a number of ways you can join our AEC projects to assist in the delivery of the AECs various programmes. Click on the following links for further information:
- Those with some teaching experience can join our Teaching in Africa internship
- Researchers interested in assisting us assess AEC programmes can join our Research in the Community Internship
- If your interest is in teaching about conservation, you can also join the programme as a Conservation Education Intern
- Even if you have no teaching experience, there is still much you can do to help deliver our various courses as part of our volunteer programmes
Support the AEC
If you would like to support the activities of our AEC operations please click here.