June 20, 2017
From a close call with exotic wildlife to amazing new learning experiences, last month’s visit to Nayamba school was a fantastic adventure for everyone involved.
After their long journey to Zambia, our team of volunteers from Devon were warmly welcomed by Anja, the founder of Nayamba School, and shown to their accommodation in her rural farmhouse. From there, they were driven by truck to the school. However, keen to check out the local area, some of the visitors decided to walk the half mile journey along the dusty track instead of taking the truck. But they got slightly more than they bargained for when they came across an eight foot long black mamba – the fastest, deadliest snake in the world! Luckily for them, the snake had already been killed but it certainly gave the group a shock.
The rest of the week was very productive – and extremely busy. With a focus on reading and phonics, Sarah Whalley, head teacher of Exminster Primary School and Aiofe, a teacher from Alphington, modelled how to develop the teaching of reading. The Nayamba children and teachers were overjoyed with their individual book bags containing banded books, which were bought using the £1000 raised by parents of children at Exminster Primary School. Exminster children also wrote letters to the children at Nayamba school. “When one child realised the letter was his to keep, the smile on his face was amazing – he was trying to suppress it but he just couldn’t!” said Sarah Whalley.
To further develop the early years’ provision at Nayamba, Leah and Michaela (from Exminster pre-school) modelled the teaching of phonics, and they taught an inspiring week of activities based around the story ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’. Elspeth (a teacher at Alphington Primary School) worked alongside the Nayamba staff to adapt the learning to meet the individual needs of the children. Meanwhile, the children were able to experience some brilliant PE sessions with Becky Mason and her colleague Charlotte. Becky Bettesworth (local artist) and Lindsay Edwards had a great time teaching art techniques to the children, who don’t usually have art lessons as part of the curriculum. The new school building is now looking bright and colourful as Becky also managed to paint the butterfly logo and the name of the school on the outer wall.
“It was so inspiring to work with the amazing teachers at Nayamba school,” explained Sarah Whalley. “They all have such a lovely manner with the children and are there because they really care about the learning – something that we all share.”