13 June 2018

Botswana: Conservation Fund Support Early Childhood Education

Gweta — Save Wildlife Conservation Fund has come up with education programmes to teach children aged three to six about the importance of flora and fauna.

Speaking in an interview with BOPA, Save Wildlife Conservation Fund teacher, Ms Keitumetse Samoga said education on wildlife and the environment aims to enthuse the young ones at tender age on the uniqueness of the natural world with the ultimate goal of peaceful coexistence of man and nature.

Giving a background of their organisation, Ms Samoga stated that the Fund was a German based non-profiting entity that supported some projects in Botswana while campaigning for sustained promotion of nature conservation and species protection.

Ms Samonga explained that the early childhood programme was started in 2013 at Shakawe and Gweta in partnership with community libraries and cultural centres.

She said Playgroup classes were formed to offer focused stimulation time to children who were about to go to primary schools.

She said through relevant curriculum, the organisation believed that children at early ages would learn better through playing, doing and experiencing the content through various senses.

Ms Samonga observed that many pre-school children spent much time around their homesteads playing with friends, therefore the programme was also designed to be available and accessible to all children irrespective of their socio-economic background.

She further explained that social and physical development was not the main concern when developing the programme as it delivered short daily sessions to give private pre-schools full day care opportunity.

Ms Samonga added that their mission was to build future generations of environmental leaders by supporting education, research, capacity building, community outreach and conservation programmes, which would in turn inspire people to coexist with wildlife, thus safeguarding their own natural heritage.

She said early childhood education was vital as it built strong foundation for children on wildlife information, adding that the programme had positive impact on children as they develop physical, emotional, social and spiritual attachments.

"When children miss the foundation it becomes complicated for them to work on the next level as they have missed some opportunities," she said.

She said while using wildlife as childrens' familiar environment and generally accepted pre-schools themes as starting points, they also spent some time on developing creativity, self-esteem, fine motor skills, cognitive skills and language acquisition.

She explained that the frame of reference and experience of children was boosted through field trips, adding that the programme had a great reception as it prepared children to be ready for primary level.

She said the programme was free, therefore money could not be the reason for not sending a child.

She encouraged parents to take children in pre-schools before enrolling them to primary schools as an effort for school readiness preparation and environmental education integration.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>


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