Pupils and staff at Peatmoor Primary School received a very special visit in July from Mr Molifa Daffeh, head teacher of Pirang School in the Gambia, with which the Swindon school has a growing connection.
Describing Mr Daffeh’s visit teacher Sarah Adams said: “He communicated very well with the children and gave us all an insight into how the pace of school life in the Gambia differs from here. He had never travelled before and he found everything he saw in Swindon fascinating, particularly washing machines. He also asked me where our chalk is because he’d never seen interactive white boards before.”
Peatmoor Primary became involved with educational visits to the Gambia two years ago when Sarah travelled there with a group of teachers from Swindon.
However, following the school’s successful application for a Connecting Classrooms reciprocal visit grant from the British Council, Peatmoor and Pirang have embarked on a joint project to compare gardening approaches and how different foods are grown in each country.
Molifa said: “I’m so amazed by the rich resources at Peatmoor. They have wonderful facilities; it’s almost impossible to compare.
“But the curiosity of the children is the same all over the world and the gardening project is a very good way to learn about each other. The children at Peatmoor have been very anxious to learn about Africa; they have a very open and tolerant outlook.
“I was able to open their eyes and put right some misconceptions about Africa and also my country. For example, as there are ten tribal languages across the nation, our national language is English.
“I have had a superb visit, I’ve learnt a lot and am taking back a lot of ideas to my school.”
Sarah will take some of the children’s work with her to Pirang when she visits in October.
Commenting on the long term nature of the connection Sarah said: “We certainly intend this to be a relationship which develops over time. All the children are very enthusiastic and it is good that their global awareness is increasing.”