Kalonga Primary School (Malawi)
Every year at our school there are major programmes put forward for all the terms which are three in total for the benefit of us students and our teachers. Some of the programmes involve the communities that surround the school. The following are some of the programmes for the second term. Some of our activities have not been done due to the government extended programmes which sometimes interfere with our school programmes.
1. PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION MEETING
We had only one PTA meeting this term. During this meeting teachers met our parents surrounding the school whose children learn at this school. Parents were given an agenda and their duty was to respond and contribute their views.
The main agenda for this meeting was fund raising for the developments that include maintenance of one building which is in a bad state and buying desks for the school. Parents had a chance to give their views on issues like discipline, hard working in classes, social welfare and entertainment, among others.
2. INTERCLASS COMPETITIONS IN SPORTS, SANITATION AND QUIZES
We managed to organise sporting competitions for all classes. Winners were given prizes in form of notebooks, pens pencils and a trophy which the school administration put aside. This term class 5 were winners in netball, class 8 were winners in football while class 7 produced best athletes at the school in different running groups. Some other competition did not take place due to physical and social interruptions beyond control.
3. EDUCATIONAL VISITS
We had only one main educational trip to our beautiful lake. Lake Malawi has fresh waters which are not salty and are good for swimming. During our visit we were able to learn more about fish. Each student was responsible for paying for him/herself on the trip - about 200 Kwacha, which is 70p. We had a chance to see the fish we eat in their habitat and learn their names. Some of the fish names are Chambo, Kampango, Usipa and the common cichlids in Lake Malawi.
We at Kalonga School have learnt one important thing from Valley Primary which we will put it into practice, and that is the role of a group chosen to form a school council consisting of a boy and a girl who play a very important charity role at the school. We intend to practice it here. Bravo Valley!!!!!
4. SCHOOL AGRICULTURAL GARDENS
Malawi is very good at teaching agriculture nowadays, and the soil is also very good. Local schools are encouraged to grow things as their normal routine. Our school chose to have a cassava garden. Cassava is a very good root vegetable. It is used to cook nsima (our staple food) alongside with maize flour. At times we just peel cassava, clean it and boil it, we then use it when taking tea or breakfast. Some people may prefer to boil cassava, cutting them in slices then dipping the slices in eggs and finally frying them. Cassava is rich in carbohydrates which are energy giving. There are two varieties of cassava; local and improved.
Manyokola, Chitembwere and Gomani.
5. END OF TERM CLOSING CEREMONY
It is our norm every term that a special ceremony is organised during the closure day. Parents and special guests including the District Education Manager (or his representative) are invited to make a speech. Teachers prepare gifts for the best 5 pupils in each class. Unlike other schools, we give a special gift to teachers who have made progress in a particular class. Parents give gifts to their children who have done well. This is done in order to encourage children to work hard in class. On the 18th of July we will have this ceremony. The head teacher closes the ceremony with his remarks and advice and announces when we are to open school next year.
6. SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
At our school we do not have a big forest where animals live. But we have a tiny woodlot of about 50m by 40m to the west of our school. Small animals like insects and reptiles are found in the wood lot. We have small snakes which are found rarely and at times we have squirrels.
We also have house sparrows and bats which live in the roofs of the school building and teachers’ houses. Do you have sparrows at your school? Sparrows eat insects and some seedlings which are found in the surroundings.
We have grasshoppers which commonly appear in the rainy season when the surrounding is green. At present the vegetation is changing to brown as we are changing seasons to dry season, which at times is hot and humid. We have many flying insects which belong to the family of invertebrates (animals without back bones). Insects have three major parts; these are the head, thorax and abdomen. All the legs are attached to the thorax, which is a bit hard. Some insects have wings to fly with, for example grass hoppers and dragonflies, others do not fly. Do you have these in your school? Other insects fly at night, for example fireflies.
7. NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF USED PLASTICS
As Malawi is developing, the use of plastic bag has been phased out, especially when used for foods items. When they have been used, the plastic bags cause litters which makes the grounds look unclean, and our school has been affected by this. Another method needs to be identified that can be used instead plastics, we would like to know how this is done at Valley. At our school to minimise the problem we have just organised a school club of boys and girls under 12 years called the Sanitary Club. After lessons on our club day the Sanitary Club goes around the school premises picking up the littered plastics. Instead of burning this plastic, to avoid pollution it is used to make plastic balls. The plastic is heated and moulded into balls for playing different games during our sports day activities, such as netball, football, and handball. This has been so helpful since we have seen a very big change at our school that now looks more beautiful than before. Without plastic litter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8. LOCALLY AVAILABLE MATERIALS
Within the surrounding of our school we found local materials, which we use as resources to make art.
Most of the reptiles found in our woodlot are snakes and lizards. Most of the snakes are very small and less poisonous. Some live in trees and others in their pits. The most commonly found lizards are brown and dark red in colour. Lizards are often found in home, looking for food. We also have chameleons. Do Valley have chameleons?
We have a club which is called wild life. In this club we learn about animals and at the same time we help to protect wild animals. We have low cost trips to places where wild animals live. Within our Salima district we have the Sengabay hills where Parachute battalion is based. In this area there are lots of baboons and monkeys. Baboons are naughty animals. They chase ladies and steal crops like maize in the fields. They also feed on the remains of food left by soldiers from the Parachute Battalion.
These trees are grown around our school to help children with their learning. The flower is scarce here in Malawi. In the science lessons taught at our school we learn that this cactus is a desert tree. It has no leaves on it but only spines which are used for protection, it has a big trunkfor storing water and long roots which are used to draw water during the dry season, since in deserts during this season the water table is very low. This tree doesn’t attract any animals, in other words it is poisonous.