PERIVOLI OKONJIMA COUNTRY SCHOOL
CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION
Perivoli Okonjima Country School aims to support and challenge the youth to reach for higher education and a stimulating career. This private, rural school based on Okonjima farm, aims to provide a sound, start-up education for pre-school (ages 2-5 yrs) as well as lower primary children (grades 1 – 4). Due to financial and social constraints, a large number of young Namibians are denied the opportunity of a high standard of education. The rural communities of Namibia are in dire need of effective pre-school and lower primary education, thereby offering a sound basis for their entire school career.
Vast distances between their homes and the closest education centers, prevent the pre-school child from attending even the most basic play-school environment. These unfortunate children are not at all prepared for first grade and many have difficulties adapting to the demands of formal school. This private Perivoli Okonjima Country School should form the basis for future mobile and stationary play-and pre-school as well as lower primary systems, in support of the rural child.
When pre-school preparation is adequate, more children will be able to adapt to the ever-increasing demands of the Namibian school curriculum. Despite the fact that Namibia’s Ministry of Education aims to reach the most remote areas of Namibia, the Perivoli Okonjima Country School should compliment this system. The Namibian Government is in support of privately sponsored organisations willing to work towards a common goal of education for all, hereby offering each child the opportunity of good schooling. We shall ensure that our school will not only be an academic platform but a sound foundation for environmental education. This will create a balance of understanding and contribute to long-term wildlife conservation through inspired leaders.
WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING AT POCS THIS MONTH
POCS KIDDIES BAKING EXPERIENCE
Le Calabash Petit Conservatoire De La Cuisine is a cooking school based in France and run dynamically by owners Sidney and Alison Bond who are award winning chefs.
When they approached me a few years ago for a new adventure with their chef groups travelling in Namibia I quickly decided Okonjima could add to this authentic extraordinary experience combining culinary wonders and Namibias wildlife experience.
We included this in their African culinary adventure. Every group comes from all walks of life and corners of the earth. Through all the visits our Okonjima chefs have been included and have learnt from this passionate couple who have always been so willing to share their knowledge and skill.
I feel the team has learnt that the main qualifications needed is a love for food and a desire to learn.
When I approached them with an idea to include our POCS school children in a baking experience Alison whose main passion is desserts and pastry jumped at the idea and we embarked on planning a cupcakes baking session.
I don’t think Alison and Sidney were fully prepared for this fun lively bunch of kiddies so enthusiastic and willing to learn and completely bowled over by this opportunity.
The kitchen was quickly turned topsy turvy, loud questions bounced around after every instruction, flour flew around while pouring, excited little fingers were going into bowls to taste the icing. All cooking rules in the formal world were broken.
This abstract world of smiles, fun, dashes of love and heaps of laughter added ingredients of non materialism to an environment of flair and imagination.
Out came these gorgeous cupcakes of course of which Chef Sidney could not choose a winner so every group were proudly winners and there was shortly no evidence remaining of these works of art residing peacefully in their stomachs . . . . .
Thanks go to Martha and Teresia, Okonjima’s bakers as well as chef Jozie who jumped into action making icing of every color helping me keep some quiet in the storm.
We are pleased to say the kitchen never burnt down great fun was had by all.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION NEWS
BIG CATS and BIG SMILES
Text: Nina van Schalkwyk
Photographs Elzanne Erasmus & Nina van Schalkwyk
There’s a certain kind of fevour that is seen only in the eyes of people with a passion for education. Gleaming with their fondness for it.
Is it because they are changing the world, one pliable mind at a time? That must be it. I am thinking this while chatting to Sue Wagner, a lifelong teacher and this weekend’s chaperone for the Mondesa Youth Opportunities (MYO) kids, who’s got exactly that look in her eyes. The MYO group arrived the previous night at AfriCat’s Okonjima Nature Reserve, just south of Otjiwarongo, to take part in an AfriCat education programme, or veldskool.
The group came all the way from Swakopmund, where most of them have lived their whole lives. In fact, as Sue tells me, the aim behind this weekend’s excursion is to showcase a part of Namibia that they have never seen before.
But why AfriCat? Why travel all the way from the coast to the dusty plateau so far removed from anything these kids know?
Areas of farmland close to the town of Otjiwarongo have been combined into what is Okonjima. The 22 000 hectare private game reserve is home to a selection of lodges as well as AfriCat, a large carnivore education and research-based welfare organisation. Okonjima means ‘place of the baboon’, but while we are there baboons take a bit of a back seat to all the predators on the prowl that salted explorers such as myself and my colleague still are impressed to see. For the kids, it’s another story. Spotting cheetah under a bush in the open veld is one thing, walking in a direct line towards them, is a totally different matter. These cheetahs are part of AfriCat’s rehabilitation programme and thus they are used to humans. Either way, i was too skitiish for this particular part of the journey and opted to stay in the car.
We trekked through the veld, under thorn trees and past a vast expanse of grassland. We spotted zebra, oryx and a full giraffe nursery (two adults, many young ones) Finally, with the help of radio signals, we were able to locate a leopard and her cub. I’m not sure if any of the kids realised how special that moment was: leopards are some of the stealthiest creatures, staying hidden and under cover away from humans – their biggest threat. To see this wonderous big cat with her baby, who poked his head at us with curiosity through the undergrowth, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Read the whole article:
Travel News Namibia Spring 2017: Big Cats and Big Smiles
MEET OUR CHILDREN THIS MONTH IN PRE-PRIMARY
Our POCS pre-primaries kids started with a variety of topics last week.
Firstly they tackled some good old maths with topics such as Scale and Weight. Testing lots of items from all around the classroom and figuring out which are heavier or lighter and why.
Last week the kids were asked to discuss emotions.
Emotional learning begins at a very young age as children discover a wide range of emotions which evolve as they grow.
Expressions - Young children are able to use emotional communication to express clear nonverbal messages about social situations and relationships (e.g. stomping ones feet, giving a hug).
They also develop empathic involvement in others’ emotions (e.g. comforting a classmate in pain).
Further, they display complex social and self-conscious emotions, such as guilt, pride, shame and contempt, in various contexts.
Young children’s abilities to accurately identify and label their own and others’ emotions, especially the discrete emotions of happiness, sadness, anger and fear, are emerging. Particularly via the use of methods embedded within play, they can identify the causes and consequences of these emotions, and they show budding awareness of complex, individualized causes for emotions . . .