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School, songs & smiles!

By Abbie Hine, 14th June 2013

The last couple of weeks have been…..well for myself as Project Leader possibly a little energetic but hopefully for the kids (and teachers) a lot of fun with some learning too. In just five full days I have given Marine Awareness sessions with almost 1550 Primary School children and 80 teachers. The sessions were similar to what I do in the schools on a regular basis: showing the children photos to excite and inspire them about the underwater world, show movies of sharks, turtles and dolphins to help them see these incredible creature as they truly are in their natural habitat and also photos that make them think about how our actions can impact this environment and the creatures within it. Along with the visuals they are told amazing facts that always make me smile when they are received with the reaction of an open mouth, an intake of breath and then a massive smile… and often a little chat with their friend sitting next to them!! Of course as always we did a lot of leaping around to our favourite marine life songs about turtles, sharks and sting rays.

Jumping for excitement at Plaisance Primary for our oceans © Bettina Hortence

These sessions run over the last couple of weeks have coincided with World Ocean Day on 8th June, a perfect opportunity for us all to think about what we do to impact the marine environment and turn any negatives into positives. For the children at Plaisance Primary School, they put what they had learnt about not polluting our oceans and putting our rubbish in the bin into artwork. I had the hard job of choosing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for Cycle 1 (P1 and P2), Cycle 2 (P3 and P4) and Cycle 3 (P5 and P6) and the children got some amazing Save our Seas Foundation books and wrist bands as prizes. The winning entries can be seen in the photo below with the 1st prize winners along the top (L-R cycle 1, 2, 3), middle 2nd prize winners and the bottom row the 3rd prize winners. All were fantastic, I was spoilt for choice. There were some wonderful messages within the drawings too.

Fantastic artwork by some young marine conservationists

World Ocean Day was also a great excuse to celebrate our oceans and Anse Etoile Primary invited me along to the school for games, puzzles, colouring, crafts and songs. With the welcomed help of some students who are part of the Academy by the Sea programme we had a very fun afternoon with the creation of marine life headbands being the favourite activity of the day!

Celebrating World Oceans Day at Anse Etoile Primary © Abbie Hine

The children are not just the ones who receive these Marine Awareness sessions. I have been working my way round all the schools in the country giving hour long sessions for the teachers during their weekly Professional Development classes. For those schools I have already been to it was time to “Test the Teachers”!! I trialled these recap sessions at Bel Ombre Primary. The teachers were split into groups given something that would make a lot of noise; tins, shakers, rattles etc. It was quiz time! At first the teachers were quite quiet but it didn’t take long for a hilarious and very noisy session to unfold. I’ll be using this form of teaching in other schools especially as amongst the noise and laugher there were mainly correct answers to my questions, brilliant, gold star to all the teachers!!

If that wasn’t enough I have given a lecture at the University of Seychelles, for their new Environmental Science course. Also the weekly visits to Kempinski Resort continue and with the help of Rodney Bonn, a student of the Environmental Science course, we take the guests snorkelling, chat to the them about the marine life they’ll see while snorkelling and some more information about “The Importance of our Oceans”. The fun doesn’t stop however as tomorrow you’ll find myself and the students from the Academy by the Sea at the Natural History Museum having more Marine Awareness fun. It’s all go go go out here in Seychelles!

A very animated Rodney, as he does a “Who’s who on the coral reef” beach side class for guests © Abbie Hine

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