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Beekeeping on Your Curriculum


When Charlton Manor Primary School were invaded by a swarm of bees, did they panic? They certainly did not! Headteacher Tim Baker was amazed by how calm the students were and the experience got him thinking how he could incorporate bees into the lives of the children. Mr Baker and two other staff members took a beekeeping course, and the school purchased its very own beehive. The school became part of the 24,000 people in the country helping to preserve the bee population. So, what did the children learn from beekeeping?

Essential business skills

The students at Charlton Manor quickly learned about the production process for honey - and very soon began to make an income from selling jars in the community. Business advisors came into the school to give them valuable advice on how to market their product, design branding and creating advertisements. They sold honey in the playground and other local shops. Students were challenged with weighing their honey, pricing their goods, and learning about cost and profit. Beekeeping certainly helped with their maths skills!

Bringing together students

Involving children in beekeeping is an excellent way of bringing them together and working as a team. Whilst some students excelled at the business side of producing honey, others found great satisfaction from the practical side of beekeeping. One particular pupil who struggled with academic work, worked best in making the wooden frames that go into a hive, as well as dismantling the beehive in order to get to the honey. Teachers noted a marked effect in his behaviour - he said that the bees made him feel calm and peaceful

Beekeeping in Kent

Beekeeping can have a profound impact upon school children, it is certainly worth considering getting Kent primary age children involved. The Kent Beekeepers Association has thirteen branches around the county that offer courses and school visits, giving you advice on setting up. Keeping bees can educate us about the variety of crops and flowers in Kent, and how they affect consistency and taste the honey.

Social order of bees

Children will enjoy learning about the social structure of a bee colony - it is especially interesting comparing it with their own community. Learning about the queen bee and how the workers pass on messages is especially fascinating. Charlton Manor students even incorporated a bee “wiggle dance” into their P.E. lessons, demonstrating communication skills and helping them to build relationships with peers.

The wider picture

Bees pollinate a large proportion of the world’s crops - without them, the consequences would be disastrous. Children can learn about the environmental impact that the declining bee population can have upon the planet and will become responsible, green citizens of the future. Teaching children to understand human being’s impact on the planet and how this might affect us in the future is a very valuable lesson.

Bees are essential to our survival. Educating children about beekeeping can teach them about so much about the county that they live in. It is a project that a whole school can embrace - learning to be responsible for not only another species, but the environment too.   

Sources 

https://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2011/aug/30/beekeeping-in-schools

If this article has you interested in supporting bees, then read this blog written for “Don’t Step on a Bee Day” with tips on how you can save bees and protect your local ecosystems.

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