Being part of a team is either very rewarding or extremely challenging, depending on how you relate to the people around you. Learning to work well with others is a vital skill in today’s society, and the earlier that this is learnt in life, the better. We recognise that our youth are tomorrow’s leaders and resultantly, we place a great importance on investing in them through education and other valuable life lessons.
The Maunga Kids Club began in 2012 and takes place every Saturday. Utilizing this platform, we run exercise sessions, regular classroom lessons as well as vital life skill classes. ALERT and Lion Encounter staff and volunteers have been successfully running this project and reach over 50 children on a weekly basis.
At our most recent Kids Club session, our team had clear objectives in mind:
- To teach the children to understand what a team is and why they are important
- To help them to identify skills that are required by members of a team
- To give the children a chance to practise working in a team
We introduced the topic and began with a ‘Word Search’ task in which the pupils had to find words connected to team work, these included: ‘goal’, ‘help’, ‘communicate’, ‘cooperate’, ‘flexible’, and ‘adapt’. This led to a discussion about teams that the children were familiar with and all love, football. We talked about how each player has a different role to play and that in these positions; they bring a diverse set of skills to the team. While they all work together to reach a common goal (which is usually to win), their skill set is complimentary in that they are positioned where their strengths lie. This gave the children an understanding of the key components involved in successful teamwork. We then went on to engage in a number of practical activities where these skills could be applied.
The first activity was ‘the Animal Game’, this required working together however, communicating without words. Each child was given a small card with a picture of an animal, for example a donkey, lion, or chicken and they were asked to form groups of the same animal. They had to do this without communicating and only making the call sign of their respective group’s animal. It was fun for everyone as there was a lot of noise but everyone still managed to get into the right group.
Several team-building exercises followed, the first was the ‘Birthday Line Up’. The children were put into two teams and had to stand next to each other in a straight line; they then had to line themselves up in order of their birthdays, from January through to December. Both teams came close to doing it, and in the results, we noticed that the girls were more willing to communicate with each other than the boys were; this is a common difference between genders, especially at this age.
The final indoor team game was in pairs; everyone had to sit down on the floor back-to-back with their arms linked. They then needed to stand up by cooperating with each other; when they manage to do this, we asked them to do the same thing again, only this time with four of them in a group.
Before we concluded the session, all of the children gathered in groups and we gave out donations of soap and detergent that we had brought with us. These were very gratefully and graciously received.
By the end of the lesson, we had a full team of cooperative and collaborating members. It was very encouraging to see. We are pleased by the consistent progress made by the Maunga Kids Club, and are grateful to the staff and volunteers that make this possible! To be a part of this amazing team and contribute to the development of children in Zambia, click here