Wild things cheer up Barking pupils

Cuddling up to meerkats may not be the usual classroom activity but at one Barking school children were treated to a fascinating first-hand insight into these creatures.

The Animal Experience came to Manor Infant School, Sandringham Road, where pupils were given the chance to get up close with exotic creatures last Tuesday.

The Cambridge-based company brought dozens of African animals, such as reptiles, scorpions, cockroaches, desert mice, spiders and even two meerkats into the school, where groups of children were allowed to view and touch the animals one by one.

Teacher Zulfiye Hussein said: “It was a great success. The usual reaction from the children was the ‘wow factor’ and they got quite excited by it.

“They remembered quite a lot of facts afterwards, like for instance that if you drop a tarantula, it will die.

“We got to cuddle up to a meerkat – they were really friendly. One of the girls in Year 2 said she wanted to become a zoo keeper.

“It was a once in a lifetime chance for the children – you are never going to be able to have a meerkat up close. If you go to a zoo, they are always going to be in a cage.”

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The visit was held as part of the school’s science week.