Written with the help of our Bee Keepers
In their role as Bee Keepers, the children aim to learn how to become Bee Keepers and help to look after the Birchwood hive through careful mentoring by our hive owners Tom and Jess. Their roles and responsibilities include:
- Carrying out daily checks on the hive, for example checking that the bees have clean drinking water
- Learning about the protective clothing and other measures to keep everyone safe
- Working alongside Tom and Jess to open up the hive for inspection
- Learning about how a hive works, including the different roles that the bees within the colony have
- Identifying and checking the Queen Bee
- Operating the smoker to keep each other safe during inspections
- Understanding the importance of bees in our environment and how we can encourage and promote this
- Helping to harvest honey and re use wax
- Sharing their knowledge with our school community for example through Assemblies, celebrating National Bee Day, holding a stall with Tom and Jess at the School Summer fair.
Children in Year 6 who are interested in this role must fill in an application form stating who they are, describing their interests and explaining the reasons why they would like the job and what qualities or experience they believe they could bring to the role. Tom and Jess our hive owners and experienced Bee Keepers then choose the two best applicants to represent Birchwood. Those children chosen are then presented with Bee Keeper badges so they can be easily identified around the school.
During the year the Bee Keepers meet with Tom and Jess in the evenings to work through a carefully supported ‘Bee Keeping for beginners’ introductory programme. Through careful mentoring they learn to prepare the hive for winter as well as opening it up in the spring for the beginning of the season. Our Bee Keepers wear specialist clothing to keep them safe whilst being able to have full, hands on experience and involvement in the hive inspections. Our Bee Keepers cascade their new knowledge to the school through assemblies and films of their inspections and by celebrating National Bee Day across the school.
As a multi award winning green flag Eco-school, we know that bees play a vital role within our environment. By having our own hive, we are all learning so much more about honey bees and the colony or ‘superorganism’! By sharing their knowledge, expertise and passion with the whole school through assemblies, films and National Bee Day and by inviting Tom and Jess to our school fair the Bee Keepers are helping to engage the whole school community in fighting the plight of the honey bee. Reception and Year 4 now use Honey Bees as their study species in their life cycle work. As we begin to develop our knowledge of a working hive language is being adopted across the school by the children to reflect this “let’s work together like our bees!” and “I’m a worker bee today!” and of course we have 50,000 school pets living in our hive and many children call out “hello!” as they pass by each morning!!