The Knysna Elephant Park’s on-site research unit (AERU-African Elephant Research Unit) and volunteer programme recently started collaborating with Plett-based Volunteering SA in an effort to help them with their education efforts at local school, Phakamasani Primary. Volunteering SA was established by Willie and Pippa Ford. Willie is from Zimbabwe and Pippa is a qualified teacher from England.
The school was only built for 850 pupils but now has more than 2000 learners. The classes have become overcrowded with only 1 teacher to 45 children. Volunteers help the Grade 4 teachers by assisting in the classroom with Reading, English and Maths – moving around in the classroom helping the children with their work, questions and marking of activities. AERU staff have even started developing lesson plans where pupils will learn more about African wildlife and conservation.
This weekly visit has become a firm favourite with all the volunteers, with some elephant volunteers even extending their stay to join Volunteering SA in their efforts. In this way, elephants are helping children to learn…in more ways than one!