ALERT’s work at the Chinotimba Pre-school in Victoria Falls includes a teacher assistance project, which aims to enhance the instruction given to the many learners who attend the school daily. Aiming to enrich the learning experience, ALERT is also involved in providing learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Last year, ALERT brought the students to the Fire Station for fire safety lessons, and to the Victoria Falls themselves for an educational tour at the UNESCO World Heritage site. This month, the children were brought to the Lion Encounter headquarters on the Masuwe Concession to learn about the area’s wildlife.
The week began with in-class sessions that taught the students about wildlife – and in particular, about lions. Along with educational lessons, led by the pre-school’s teachers, our volunteers brought arts and crafts and games related to wildlife so the kids could learn through play.
On the 17th of March the tiny tots were brought to Masuwe. First, the learners received a conservation education refresher lesson from Lion Encounter guide Dereck. The eager pre-schoolers took turns answering questions about the physical characteristics of a lion, their habitat and food sources. Some of the learners were even brave enough to ask questions of Dereck, and before they knew it they were ready to come face to face with real life lions!
Walking quietly toward the enclosure there were lots of gasps and pointing when the cubs came into sight. This was of course interesting for the lions too as they approached the fence curiously, eyeing out the tiny visitors. The children could not believe their eyes, and only a few were too frightened to go closer. The majority of the children trusted the guides and took the time to observe the lions and listen to explanations of how we can tell Phezulu is a male, and how Pendo’s curiosity is one of her best traits!
After being thoroughly educated about lions and their importance to the area and Africa, the learners took a break for a quick snack before heading back to their classroom – full of excitement from the day.
About Chinotimba Pre-School
Chinotimba Pre-school educates 49 children up to age 6 in the Chinotimba township, on the outskirts of Victoria Falls town. As a community school, it relies on school fees to sustain its two teachers and ensure the children have the resources they need to learn. Unfortunately, the majority of the children attending do not pay school fees, and although the school will never turn students away, it has once been closed due to a lack of funds. ALERT is dedicated to ensuring the education of Chinotimba’s youngest learners adequately prepares them to enter the school system with the cognitive and social abilities to succeed in the future.