This feels like coming home - a warm welcome!
Dear supporting friends,
You are probably very curious about what we did last month at the Eco Club, am I right :-)? I will tell you all about it, of course, but at first I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Toine Vos and since the beginning of May, I am in charge of DAKTARI’s Outreach Programme. This means also that for the next year, I will be teaching the children at Eco Club, which is without a doubt already the best part of my job. It is amazing to enlarge DAKTARI’s educational impact at the local schools and it really touches me that the children come voluntarily to learn more about the environment and wildlife.
So, what have we been up to the past month? The first lesson was a sad lesson, as Sara, our previous Eco Club teacher, said goodbye to the children. In a relatively short time she managed to built a great relationship with them of which I can only dream of. Her farewell lesson was about music and we learnt about the background of musicology and how music can be linked to animals. For example, did you ever hear of zoomusicology?! In the end, everyone could do a little performance. Even the shiest kids took the ‘stage’ and everyone applauded for each other, resulting in a visible confidence boost to the children. Priceless!
My first own lesson was about animal cognition and the goal was to learn that animals are smarter than one thinks. We read about birds, chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants, supported by video material of particular smart animals. As soon as the children saw the video of an elephant painting a beautiful tree, they were blown away. Mission completed.
Another Eco Club was dedicated to animal populations and their dynamics. All credits for the suggestion of this topic go to Thomas, a smart boy from grade 10 who wished to learn more about populations. After the introduction of the word populations, we discussed J-curves, S-curves and the food chain. Especially the girls did a good job by being very concentrated and active during the class. However, I have to say, the boys should not go unmentioned either. Tyras for example dared to be a teacher for a moment by explaining to his classmates the predator-prey relationship. And he really nailed it! Afterwards, the students did exercises on the topic, assisted by short-term DAKTARI volunteers and I. The individual attention made them visibly feel special and they all seemed to understand it. In the end, Thomas and some other kids came to tell me that they learnt a lot this week. That is the greatest reward you can get as a teacher!
Every six months the most improved children of each Eco Club get a reward, as a way to encourage all of them to do their very best. Thanks to your generosity, this is possible, for which the children and we are really thankful. However, I thought it might be good to involve the children in the fundraising process. Of course, this is only symbolic, but very valuable for example to develop their marketing skills. We started by talking about income and expenses of an NGO such as DAKTARI and made up a couple of awesome ideas to raise funds. Some kids will bake and sell cookies, whereas others will do bob-a-jobs for their friends and family. The process is supervised by Nanatjie and Jeremia; the respective chairman and treasurer. The majority of the students seem to be excited to rock this project. Definitely to be continued!
Last but not least, I would like to thank all of you who support the Eco Club from the bottom of my heart. Like I said, I have only been teaching the Eco Club for one month, however I can already firmly state that this education really makes a change for the children and hence the animals and environment. That is what motivates us and where we do it for; now and in the future!
Take care and I am looking forward to updating you about the Eco Club the coming 11 months.
Toine Vos, Eco Club teacher and Outreach Programme Coordinator
Concentration during the animal cognition class
Teacher Tyras takes over the populations class :-)
Koketso - she made a lot of progress last month