When Lydia and Simon Maonde,Zambian teachers, retired from their long careers in education, they took up a new life as farmers in the Lilayi community near Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. The need for a school for the children of the farm workers was apparent and so, in 1994, Mrs. Maonde began to teach 5 pre-schoolers in the Maonde home. Word spread in the community of how well these children were being taught, and parents soon brought others to learn. Since the 4 Maonde sons and 1 daughter had grown and moved away, their 3 small bedrooms became the school classrooms.
By 2005 there were about 200 children coming, in morning and afternoon shifts, to be pupils at this new Twitti School. The name Twitti was chosen since the word ‘twitti’ means the smallest twig, a symbol for these tiny children who were becoming part of the powerful tree of education. When this ‘school in the house’ was reaching its physical limits, an amazing re-connection occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Maonde, by means of the Internet, began to correspond with three Canadians who had worked with them at Namwala Secondary School in Southern Province more than thirty-five years earlier. Mr. Maonde requested their help in financing the construction of a ‘real’ school.
Former CUSO volunteer teachers, Patrick and Shelley O' Callaghan in British Columbia, and Patricia (Brown) Ellsworth in New Brunswick, committed to their former Headmaster and his wife to help them build a school, an enduring legacy for the Lilayi community. In 2006, Friends for Zambia Society was established and fund raising began. In 2009, the first 4 classrooms were constructed and each year more facilities were added until 2012 when Twitti Primary School was completed.
A Canadian - Zambian Partnership Learn more about it on the Twitti School Page. (See Menu)
In Term 2 the school introduced a spelling bee help childreton gain competency with their vocabulary, potentially leading to improved reading and writing skills. The teachers had noticed that, due to excessive screen time during COVID, the reading culture of school-aged children was drastically reduced. The literacy of the pupils had been affected.
At Twitti School spelling is usually taught in class but the teachers felt the pupils would be more proactive in learning if the concept of competition was added. Also the addition of interaction with their peers outside of the classroom would allow the children to learn from those in other classes. Every child from Grade 2 - 7 was expected to participate but with different level spellings depending on their grade.
The Spelling Bee was to take place every Friday after break time, between 10:30 AM and 12:00 PM.
At the first Spelling Bee the Grades competed against each other - Grade 2 against Grade 3, and so on and so forth. For the most part the higher grades did better than their lower opponents, except for Grade 6 and 7, where the Grade 6's were better spellers! The idea of encouraging everyone to participate in competition meant that they were not only learning how to spell for themselves, but for their classmates as well.
NOTE: We will find out from the teachers if this approach was of benefit to the pupils and if it carried over into Term 3.
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Soon after an initial connection was made between Twitti School and Chilanga Cement (formerly Lafarge) in 2007 by Friends For Zambia, the company made a commitment to provide all the cement required to construct the new Twitti School buildings. The first delivery was made in April 2008, and deliveries continued until the school was completed.
A strong community statement from Chilanga Cement (formerly Lafarge): "When our communities start to prosper because of our involvement and the Lafarge name becomes synonymous with constant unwavering commitment, then we are on our way to one of our greatest growth objectives: Building a better Zambia.,