Why are so many bees dying?
This simple question from a group of kindergarten children on Brisbane’s northside has sparked not only a love of learning about bees, but a proposed community project that would see the three- and four-year olds become teachers in their own community.
Turning wonder into learning is one of the reasons C&K Willmore Kindergarten & Preschool Director Linda Meinicke has been nominated for the inaugural TEACHX Innovation in Teaching Award.
The kindergarten teacher was also recognised at the 2019 C&K Excellence and Innovation Awards after she used a grant to hire a psychologist to work with the Willmore children on resilience.
Creche and Kindergarten (C&K) Association Principal Advisor of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Nadine McAllister, says there has been a marked improvement in children’s resilience as a result of the program, including children’s ability to understand their feelings, to articulate emotions, to use self-calming strategies and face challenges with confidence.
Linda is known for her passionate advocacy for children having a voice in their community and harnessing her students’ current love of bees is becoming an opportunity to do just that.
The children were encouraged to explore their thoughts about bees – after questioning why so many were dying – through drawing, painting, clay and wire sculpture, digital microscopes, building materials, and their outdoor space.
“The drawings by the children of the bees a month ago compared to now are completely different,” Linda’s nomination states. “They show the children’s increasing understanding of the habitats, life cycle and work of the bees.”
“This work is on documentation panels in the room for discussion with the children and families and educators to revisit and rethink and wonder.”
“The children are currently engaged in a community art project which initially was about the children being visible in our community. This has now transformed into an opportunity for the children to educate the wider community about the importance of bees, with the planning of a mural about bees and a community garden with bee-enticing plants that will be cared for by the whole community.”
Linda demonstrates her commitment to ongoing professional learning by engaging in regular professional development. In the first six months of this year she attended a Reggio Emilia Philosophy conference and two workshops, a C&K Director’s day and teacher network meetings.
Congratulations Linda on your nomination.