Bermuda Education Network and students from two public primary schools moved their lessons to the Botanical Gardens last Thursday, June 22nd for a day of outdoor learning.
A spokesperson said, “The idea of a Discovery Day was conceived by Purvis Principal, Enid Furbert Jacobs who enlisted Bermuda Education Network to organize activities for 184 students all taking place at the Botanical Gardens.”
Mrs. Furbert Jacob said: “Our vision for the new Parish Primary schools includes more inquiry-based approaches to learning and making full use of Bermuda’s natural resources and rich heritage. A key part of this vision is collaborating with community partners to co-design activities such as field trips, projects and other authentic learning experiences. Bermuda Education Network is one of our ‘go to’ resources for this type of experiential learning and they came up with a fabulous itinerary for learning by doing instead of learning via books and screens.”
The spokesperson said, “BEN offers weekly field trip expeditions throughout the year to public primary schools through their Horizons Experiential Learning Program, but the mission to provide six different lessons to a whole school on one day was a first. BEN Program Director, Fiona Murdoch and Horizons Coordinator, Latoya Pearman co-managed the project with help from long-term partner, Agra Living Institute who provide lessons about farming and sustainability at their educational farm based in the Botanical Gardens.
“For the Discovery Day lessons Agra Living taught the P1 and P5 groups about composting and growing vegetables while the Purvis art teacher, Ms Kievone Simmons created ‘plein air’ art activities. The P6 students were treated to a tour of Masterwork’s William Wegman exhibition led by Kimberley Fisher.
“BEN also enlisted the help of Jennifer Flood, President of the Bermuda Botanical Society for a P4 lesson on botany and conservation which culminated in a tour led by Nick Coelho of the Bermuda Zoological Society and Jessica Carvalho of the Parks Department of the new Micro Forest where P4 students planted some Turkey Berry saplings to add to the collection of rare and endemic plants. P2s were taken on a tour of Sensory Garden with BEN founder, Becky Ausenda.”
Botanical Society President, Jennifer Flood said: “It’s easy to take Bermuda’s natural beauty for granted and important to take the opportunity to teach children about plants and trees whenever possible. The Bermuda Botanical Society wants to assist schools and families with teaching children about caring for the environment through our Tree Tales that are posted around the gardens and through initiatives like this Discovery Day where we can introduce children to some of the treasures of the Botanical Gardens.”
Fiona Murdoch said: “BEN is passionate about creating engaging learning experiences for children and we were excited to have this opportunity to do what we love on a larger scale. We appreciate all the partners involved in helping us to deliver the Discovery Day lessons and are grateful to our Horizons sponsors, the Purvis PTA who contributed to the transport costs, Butterfield and Vallis who donated popsicles and staff from law firm, Conyers who volunteered on the day.”
The spokesperson said, “Mrs. Murdoch added that with summer coming up, camps may want to use some of the learning ideas that were used for the Discovery Day so BEN and their partners have created free downloadable activity plans to use at Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens. The resources can be accessed on BEN’s website www.bermudaeducationnetwork.com.”