Pupils at Cuddington Croft Primary School in Cheam were given a lesson they will not forget in a hurry recently when the husband of one of the school staff shared his memories of the eight years he spent living in Kenya.
Teaching assistant Rosie Ketchum’s husband talked about her experiences in Africa as part of the pupils’ geography project ‘Home and Away’. They began by looking at the Lake District and comparing and contrasting its features with Africa, before Mr Ketchum gave an insight into his own life there.
“It was fascinating for the children to hear someone they know talk about their own experiences in somewhere so far away and so different,” said Cuddington’s Phase One leader Lisa Lehane.
“We went on a virtual safari through Nairobi Park, learning about the wildlife and landscape, and got to discover all kinds of aspects of daily life in Africa, and to see how different – or similar – they are to the sort of things people have to think about in this country.
“After Mr Ketchum told us about life there, and answered their questions, we then looked in the atlas to find where Kenya was and then made up our own map of the country based on what we had found out. It was such a practical way of making the topic come alive, and then reinforcing the knowledge we had acquired.”
This is not the first round the world adventure that pupils have been on this year without even leaving the confines of Cuddington, which is a part of the Surrey-based GLF Schools multi-academy trust.
In April, Year Five pupils took a ‘trip’ to explore the ancient Mayan culture of Mexico, and Ms Lehane said she hoped Year the African adventure would prove as educational as that exercise had been.
“Making learning fun really helps make it more effective too,” she explained. “In future, whenever they hear the word Kenya, it won’t just be a distant country, it’ll be somewhere that’s been brought to life in their own classroom, and they’ll remember all the knowledge they picked up about it.”