For the past few years, I've taught a class or two each summer at St. John's School and Summer Camp in Bala Cynwyd. Spending an hour with a group of inquisitive 5 - 7 year olds is really fun and I've always welcomed the opportunity to return.
Earlier this summer, I packed a frame of bees into our observation hive, gathered my beekeeping tools and headed to St. John's. During that one hour visit, we reviewed bee basics so everyone had a similar baseline understanding of what's going on inside a hive. I believe we all learn more thoroughly by doing, so the kids participated in a Q & A on bees, tried on my jacket and veil, checked out the bee brush, hive tool, smoker and tasted honey from the farm. The class was over in the blink of an eye. As I gathered my props, I started planning my follow-up visit.
This past week I returned, sans bees, but had the fruits of their labors - 2 frames of honey! When the kids walked into the room, they saw the honey harvest set-up and were instantly asking questions! We started off with each camper drawing a picture of what they think of when they hear the word "honey". Some drew a honeybee, others drew elaborate hives and we had at least 1 "honey bear" squeeze bottle. What would you draw?
After a honey-focused Q & A, we enlisted the teachers to help remove the honey from the frame. They gloved-up while the kids gathered round the table. After scraping the honey into sieve, we removed the wax and filtered the honey a second time. Once filtered, the teachers helped fill 2 jars with honey and each child had the opportunity to taste this freshly harvested honey.
We said our thank-yous and good-byes and kids went outside to play. Alone in the quiet room, I thought about all the questions they asked and hoped I'd given good answers. It was an hour well-spent with a group of curious kids. I appreciate the fact that the school director continues to have me visit the kids and support our programs. It's a lot of work to get ready for these classes, but definitely worth it when the kids are so interested and involved for a full hour! I wonder what next summer will bring?
Have a good day!