December 2015 – Children in the Wilderness (CITW) has rolled out the first of three Eco-Club curriculum textbooks, a valuable tool designed to take the Eco-Clubs to a new educational level, as it assists its Eco-Mentors in planning and running their lessons for the year.
CITW Eco-Clubs take place in six southern African countries – Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia – providing schoolchildren from rural communities interested in nature and the environment with a chance to meet, learn, discuss and expand their knowledge of environmental issues. More than 50 active Eco-Clubs are run by volunteer Eco-Mentors and teachers, who receive CITW training, but who previously devised their own lessons and activity programmes.
“Based on feedback received from our Eco-Mentors, we realised that a more formalised curriculum book would assist them greatly in ensuring they are engaging with Eco-Club members in a fun and informative way. There has generally been an absence of materials and training related to environmental education in the schools we work with, and we are excited about addressing this gap with our new series of Eco-Club curriculum books and workshops”, says Dr Sue Snyman, CITW Programme Director.
The new Eco-Club curriculum textbook is the first one in the three-year Eco-Club curriculum and includes 24 lessons, enough material to run one class a week for the duration of the school year. Some of the lessons are from one of our partner, the El Hefni Foundation, which continues to support our Eco-Club programme through assisting with training and materials. Topics covered vary, from learning more about environmental awareness such as constructing “Tippy Taps” to save water, to lessons focused on life and leadership skills.
A series of Eco-Mentor training workshops are currently underway in all countries, ensuring that teachers are comfortable with the new material. Training on the new book has already taken place in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA) and Namibia and has been extremely successful, with all participants feeling well-equipped and ready for the year ahead.
After attending a training workshop, Eco-Mentor Paulina Phophe of Mapungubwe National Park, a World Heritage Site, said: “I have learnt a lot, mostly on how to teach learners in a way that they will understand and be able to put what they’ve learnt into practice. The new curriculum book is so simple and straight to the point and will guide us in our lesson preparations”.
A further two Eco-Club curriculum books will be rolled out over the next 12 months and the number of training sessions will increase to reach more Eco-Mentors and teachers and, therefore, more children across the region.
Eco-Mentors were invited to attend training workshops focused on the new curriculum book