As I head back to the sunshine and warmth of the Seychelles it’s time to think about the next 2 months and what has been achieved while I’ve been in the less than summery UK!
Back in February and March while I was in Seychelles going from school to school giving talks and singing songs and generally having a lot of fun with the kids the first steps towards a link with schools in Seychelles and UK were taken. The P5-6 classes at the schools in Seychelles were given worksheets following their SOSF session. On the worksheet the children had to fill in a number of sections including explaining their favourite hobby, why they like living in Seychelles, what they had learnt from the SOSF session, what they would like to know about the UK and what else they would like to know about the marine environment. Along with this they all drew amazing pictures of their favourite marine creatures. These worksheets were then brought back to the UK.
Along with being Project Leader for this SOSF Marine Education Project in Seychelles I also runs WiseOceans (www.wiseoceans.com), a marine education and conservation company. One aspect of WiseOceans is to do marine awareness sessions in schools in the UK. These sessions are generally very similar to those I carry out in the Seychelles. Therefore it seemed only natural to link the schools in Seychelles with those in the UK.
The pioneering schools to trial the link are Le Retrait Primary in the northern part of the main island of Mahe in the Seychelles and Muthill Primary School in Perthshire, UK. Both schools are relatively small in number and full of enthusiastic kids, but this is more or less where the similarities end. Muthill is a rural village in central Scotland on the edge of the Highlands and at least 1 hours drive from the coast. Le Retrait on the other hand is merely minutes from crystal clear waters, under a warm sun and located on an island that is no more than an hours drive in total length.
A marine awareness session similar to the one the children at Le Retrait had had was held at Muthill Primary School. Following this a slide show of photos from the Seychelles, including photos of the children from Le Retrait were show. We also had a workshop session where the children replied to their new overseas friends. Some of them even created a life sized Basking Shark using themselves in their classroom! I think we’ll be creating a Whale Shark at Le Retrait! The marine awareness session provided the children at Muthill with the knowledge to answer the marine questions from the Le Retrait children. The children from Muthill of course had plenty more questions about sharks, turtles and many more amazing creatures so on returning to the Seychelles a session will be held at Le Retrait where the children will be given more marine awareness to give them the knowledge to answer this next round of questions. And on and on the line of communication will go. Therefore it is ultimately the children who are teaching each other but with the added advantage that they are broadening their horizons and learning about another country. With this trial having proved a success so far the plan is to expand these links so the majority of the schools in Seychelles are linked with a UK school.