Posted November 2021

By KU Mayfield Preschool

We were fortunate to be able to purchase a hive of native stingless bees and they quickly became a valued part of our preschool. The children were fascinated and wanted to learn more about them. Most of us were not aware of the number of native bees in Australia or their important role as pollinators. We were all surprised to learn how far these tiny insects fly when foraging and the children’s interest in where our bees might visit spawned the idea for our project.

We started with the idea of letting the residents of our 42 neighbouring properties know we had native bees and that they might visit their gardens. With money from a CEP (communities environment program) grant, we were able to expand this idea and offer our neighbours a native plant to add to their garden. The children shared what we had learnt by hand delivering a letter about native bees and how important they are for the environment. We offered neighbours a native flowering plant and a bee hotel to encourage and support native bees visiting their gardens. Our goals when establishing the Bee Friendly Block were to increase biodiversity and increase the awareness of native bees within the community.

Within our preschool we involved the children in establishing a new native garden bed right under our beehive. Beyond our preschool we have 18 neighbours who have become a part of the project. It has been great to establish new community relationships as we walked around the block with the preschool children making deliveries. Some of the neighbours have emailed us photos of their new plants once they were planted in their gardens. Through our project 67 native plants have been added to the area. We were mindful about including plants that flower at all different times of the year and some local indigenous plants as well.

Receiving the 2021 SPROuts Award from the NSW Early Childhood Environmental Education Network is a reminder of the value of the learning and community connections this project has created over the past couple of years. We look forward to continuing these opportunities in 2022 when we can head back out the gate with children into our local community.