Children’s curiosity and wonder leads one educator to become an expert in bees
Earlier this year, early childhood Educator Hilda Hirmiz knew one thing about bees – that she was allergic to them – but thanks to the curiosity and wonder of one of her small charges, she now considers herself “something of an expert”.
“It started with a little boy in my class looking at what was growing in the garden bed,” Hilda explained. “He noticed one of the flowers had broken off and suggested we replant it so the bees would have something to eat. When we looked for the bees, however, we couldn’t find any.”
This curiosity sparked an entire class project on the world of bees, encompassing aspects of science, art, literacy and play.
“It’s been fascinating,” Hilda said. “We’ve learnt so much about bees and how they hibernate during winter, preparing for their busy spring and summer.
“We learnt about their life cycle and how their hive works, the queen and worker bees, and how they produce the honey that we put on our toast.”
A corner of Hilda’s classroom has been decorated with cardboard bees, a beehive and honeycomb, all created by the children, along with sprigs of lavender from the garden and books about bees.
“We’ve just started to spot a couple of bees in the garden now,” Hilda says. “So the children have been tracking them to see where they go.”
During Early Learning Matters Week, celebrated 17-21 October, stories like Hilda’s are important to share, to demonstrate the value of learning through play.
“Children are naturally curious; they want to explore,” she explained. “This unlocks learning for them and builds confidence and creativity. And it sparks more curiosity.”
In this case, the children’s fascination with bees has led them to discover snails in the garden, which has inspired a whole new project. Hilda is more than ready to take a learning journey down the snail trail: “I’m just hoping they don’t spot a spider in the garden next!”
To learn more about Early Learning Matters Week, please see here.
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