Astonishment guaranteed: Experience the Miracle of Bes

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Photo: Mellifera e. V.

For more than 35 years, the nonprofit association Mellifera, based in Rosenfeld in Baden-Württemberg (southern Germany), has been committed to ecological beekeeping and apiculture that is respectful of the nature of bees. The initiative “Bienen machen Schule” (Bees teach school), which was created under the aegis of the nonprofit, also passes on this knowledge: Since 2010, beekeepers and teachers have been working together to teach children and youth about the important role bees and other pollinating insects play in biodiversity. SAGST project manager Andreas Rebmann is convinced that “this kind of holistic, applied bee education has tremendous potential. Not only does it impart knowledge and practical skills, but it also empowers young people in their personal development.” That is why the Foundation is also promoting the expansion of this successful approach to preschools. As Rebmann explains: “The earlier children connect with their environment through positive experiences, the more naturally they will form an awareness of nature’s fragile balance.”

Since only a few institutions are fortunate enough to be able to keep their own bee colonies, an experience set to engage children in a playful way was developed in close consultation with Waldorf educators and the Association of Waldorf Preschools. “Erlebnis Bienenwunder” gives educators a small “magic suitcase” from which they can draw inspiration for engaging with the fascinating world of bees. Products such as honey, beeswax, pollen and propolis can be tasted, touched or smelled, stimulating the senses. A model beehive made of wood gives the children their first insights into the life of a bee colony, while honey bees, wasps and bumblebees made of felt allow them to perceive the differences between the various species. There are also seeds and planting tips for an insect-friendly fragrant flower bed, a songbook and instructions for making a variety of crafts. SAGST’s financial support will make it possible to distribute the high-quality set by the end of 2023 to 175 Waldorf (pre)schools for a small cost. Starting in autumn 2023, three classroom training sessions are also planned at various locations in Germany to provide suggestions on how to use the materials.