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New education program puts a buzz in student learning

Classrooms across Australia will be abuzz with bee learnings, thanks to a new online education hub dedicated to inspiring children to understand the vital role bees and other insects play in the environment and food production.

The new Centre for Bee Education is a collaboration between Wheen Bee Foundation and Bee School by Beechworth Honey, and provides a wealth of learning resources and tools ready to roll out into the classroom.

Wheen Bee Foundation CEO Fiona Chambers says it is critical that children understand the importance of bees, and the new Centre builds on the passion for insects that many children already have.

“Kids are fascinated by bugs,” Ms Chambers said. “At our live hive demonstrations, we have seen how much children already know about bees and how excited they are to learn more.

“The Centre for Bee Education will broaden their existing knowledge, providing students with a scientific framework to build a deep understanding of bees and pollination.”

The collaboration brings together two organisations dedicated to improving community understanding of bees.

Wheen Bee Foundation is Australia’s premier not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the importance of bees in food security, biodiversity and ecosystem health, with education for people of all ages at the heart of everything the Foundation does.

Beechworth Honey has a long history educating young people, nurturing their inquisitive minds and developing their passion for bees through the hands-on, interactive Bee School in Victoria’s North East.

Beechworth Honey Co-founder and Director Jodie Goldsworthy said creating the interactive Bee School was a natural progression for the business, with a beekeeping tradition spanning four generations.

“As a former teacher I understand the importance of investing in education,” Ms Goldsworthy said. “It is vital to teach young people about the issues facing bees and the planet so they are more likely to take action when they are older.

“Partnering with the Wheen Bee Foundation was an obvious step to ensure there was one dedicated place for as many people as possible to have access to this information.”

Through the Centre for Bee Education, teachers and students can access learning resources, information sheets and lesson plans for hassle-free and engaging learning that fosters a lifelong passion for bees.

All Bee Education Learning Kits and resources are linked to the Australian Curriculum and the Victorian Curriculum, making them easy for teachers to integrate into classroom learning.

The beautifully designed high quality learning materials have been developed by the Bee School’s staff of dedicated board-registered teachers, including Bee School Lead Teachers Amelia Bourke and Olivia Jacobs.

“As teachers who are working in a bee environment every day, we are in a unique position to be able to bring specialised knowledge about bees, pollination, food security and biodiversity into learning environments,” Ms Jacobs says.

“We’ve designed the lessons to cater for a variety of learners and learning styles, with videos, sound clips, and craft activities for visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners.

“And all the resources required to implement the lessons have been included so educators can focus on imparting knowledge and bringing the learning kits to life.”

Each Bee Education Learning Kit includes lesson plans for a unit of work, with resources that enhance the classroom experience, whether it’s books, videos, bee-themed accessories, cards or seeds to plant a pollinator friendly garden.

Each unit has versions designed for specific age groups – Kinder to Level 2, Levels 3–4 and Levels 5–6.

The first unit is Planting for Bees and looks at the relationship between honey bees and their environment. Additional units will be rolled out in the coming terms to incorporate more on Sustainability and Bee Biology. The first unit will be available in June.

For more information about the Centre for Bee Education, visit
www.wheenbeefoundation.org.au/C4BE or
www.beechworthhoney.com.au/bee-school

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