As the end of term two is fast approaching, ALERT staff and their volunteer partners at African Impact took the learners from Book Club at Chinotimba Primary School to visit the lions at Lion Encounter in Victoria Falls. This special treat for students mixed the excitement of seeing African lions and an English literacy lesson, with a fun end of term field trip! Children were taught all about the lions, and ALERT’s partnership with Lion Encounter, all while participating in a valuable lesson.
The event started by picking up all thirty children enrolled in Book Club (from grades six and seven), and transporting them to the Masuwe Concession, where they were given a briefing on safely viewing the lions from outside their enclosure. Following the briefing, children were split up into smaller groups and brought to see the four lion cubs currently involved in Stage One of the African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program. The children were timid at first, but once they realised that they were quite safe in the presence of the trusted guides and handlers at Lion Encounter, the curious students moved closer to the enclosures to take a good look at Africa’s most iconic cat.
Following the breath-taking viewing of the lion cubs, ALERT staff and volunteers organised a reading with the students about lions. This helped reinforce and refresh all of the information they had learned throughout their visit to Lion Encounter. The students seemed quite confident reading aloud, both new and familiar facts regarding lions and their behaviour.
Needless to say the Book Club students had quite an eventful day; learning and reading all about lions, some of them seeing them for the first time, and having a nice healthy snack afterwards - a great end-of-term field trip!
About Book Club
English is the official language of both Zambia and Zimbabwe, and without good proficiency in English reading and writing, students will likely be excluded from many aspects of active citizenship, including employment opportunities. English proficiency also helps students to better understand all their school subjects, and to be able to tackle exams, which are given in English. In partnership with Coventry University, ALERT has established English literacy programs at weekly Book Clubs to improve children’s English literacy levels and foster a love of reading. Pupils attending book clubs are tested to establish their current reading age, and then tailored, locally appropriate, assistance is provided to improve literacy using educational materials from AXIS Education, TESSA and Happy Readers. A library system provides pupils access to a wide-range of reading level appropriate books.
About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)
English literacy 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.