At Mkoba 4 Primary School in Gweru, Zimbabwe, particular support is provided by ALERT and Antelope Park to support the school’s Special Needs classes. Staff and project volunteers assist class teachers by providing pupils with individual attention during lessons, assessing students' work, and helping to produce effective teaching aids. Material support is also given, through maintenance and facility upgrades, as well as the provision of equipment such as computers, books, stationery, and sports gear. To ensure students are given the level of support they need, the class is divided into two groups: learners in group one receive the most support, while those in group two are more advanced.
In mathematics, group two students were given a revision exercise on subtraction using the carrying method to determine if they had remembered this concept. After some initial support, the majority of students performed well during this task. At the same time, students in group one continued to work on the topic of identifying missing numbers in a given sequence. They found this more difficult than anticipated, so were given support with each question and then asked to have another try independently.
The following lesson concentrated on multiplication, beginning with a recap of what the students had learned so far about the topic. This included completing a series of questions from the board and reciting the two, three and nine times tables aloud. They were then given an exercise to complete covering times tables from one to 10. On the whole, the students said that they found the exercise very challenging, so further lessons will be devoted to this topic.
Practical and material support is also provided to the Mickey Mouse Pre-school in Gweru, where children aged five and six have been learning the skill of colour recognition. In mathematics, colour recognition is used to categorise, sort, compare and organise. Additionally, as children learn to identify colours and use colour as a language tool to describe things, it develops and strengthens their ability to communicate effectively. An understanding of the subtleties of different shades, tones and hues also helps young children to use colour as a means of creative expression.
In four small groups, students learned about colours using animals as their focus. They were shown pictures of different animals and asked to identify their name, their colour, or the sound they make. They were then told more about each one, for example what the animal eats, where it lives and what its young are called. The children thoroughly enjoyed this lesson and were eager to learn and participate.
In the following lesson, students were given blue and yellow paint to use to create hand prints on paper. They were shown how to carefully dip their hands in the paint and let any excess drip off before making their print. They were very excited to get started. Community volunteers were on hand to assist the class teacher in discouraging the children from touching everything in sight and stickers were handed out for good behaviour.
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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