This week I was delighted when Sharon and Kath invited me to join them on a road trip culminating in a visit to Qacha's Nek. I had been hoping to visit this area before my return as the primary school in this district is linked to Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, the high school I work at back in Wales. It was wonderful to finally meet the pupils and colleagues I had heard so much about and great to see another example of positive impact Dolen has on classrooms across Lesotho and the lasting relationships it builds between teachers.
When I arrived I received a very warm welcome and was invited to observe the phonic coordinator teaching her grade 3 class. I witnessed some good practice in her lesson, which proved the core principles of the Lesotho Literacy Leap are still being practised two years on from the first LTTP visit. Sounds and word building are clearly a focus throughout school, this was evident from displays and work in learners' books. During our meeting the phonics coordinator was enthusiastic to refresh her knowledge and keen to learn how she could continue to develop her skills. During our meeting discussed how bottle blending, flash cards, actions and pictures could help further enhance the learning experience.
My day also included a visit to the library. It was well organised and books were clearly labelled according to year group and stored tidily on shelves.It is clear all pupils have regular access to the books. The pupils I interviewed were very positive about the books and could recall titles they had read and described the pictures and characters enthusiastically.
I spent the afternoon observing grades 6 and 7 where I saw a student teacher in grade 6 using an innovative afl strategy in his classroom, which I am excited to share with my colleagues back in Quthing. The Learners' English was of very high standard both in spoken and written form and I really enjoyed reading the letters they produced.
The highlight of my day was when Grade 2 performed a poem about their school called 'School my Second Home'
This title really made me think about Bro Hydggen, which has such homely atmosphere and close knit community, as it consists of just over 300 pupils and staff. It was then I realised that although the two schools are very different they clearly share the same core values of family and belonging, making us an ideal link. It will be very exciting to see how we can continue to develop this special connection.