In 2018 we came across Melissa Ballantyne’s Sydney Stingless Bees. After much discussion with Melissa and the rest of the Everlearn team about the potential benefits to our preschool program of introducing stingless bees into the centre we decided to get a tree mounted hive for our Clovelly campus.
According to Melissa “stingless native bees enable children to safely explore, engage, learn and experience close up the social behaviours of the bee, an awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment and the interdependence of living things.” As an added bonus the bees pollinate the gardens and Everlearn is aiding the conservation of the native bee.
“There are over 1500 species of native bees in Australia. Native Bees are wondrous little busy creatures and they do a fantastic and important job of pollinating our flowers and crops. Pollinating plants is the main activity of bees, 70% of the food that we consume is pollinated by bees. All sorts of fruit and vegetable are pollinated by native bees including macadamias, avocados, watermelon, citrus fruit and mangos. Stingless bees are a lot smaller and darker in appearance than your European bee spotted in your garden, because they are so small they are able to pollinate tiny, delicate hard to reach blossoms. The Native bee can forage up to 800m and are considered strong flyers.”
We have now had the bees at Clovelly for almost a year and have just introduced them to our Prestons campus. They have now become an integral part of our preschool program and help us to achieve a vast array of outcomes in our Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). They give the children an opportunity to tangibly see and understand the positive impact that bees have on our local ecosystem, whilst stimulating further questioning and interest extended topics like environmental sustainability, the natural world and food production.