World Teacher's Day 2022

18th May 2022

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Celebrating Our Amazing Education Team on World Teacher’s Day!

On Wednesday 5th October it is World Teacher’s Day – a day to highlight and celebrate the invaluable and inspiring work done by teachers and educators all over the world. We’d like to take this day as an opportunity to spotlight our own Education Team who do an amazing job teaching the thousands of children who visit us each year about the natural world around them. From running workshops for education groups, to visiting local care homes, schools and holiday clubs, to planning and designing the signage around our site, the team deliver educational material and messages to a range of audiences, ensuring that visitors are inspired and engaged throughout their time at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm.

To find out more about what it’s like to work in the Education Team, and what’s involved in their workshops and outreach, we did a Q&A with Paula, our Education Lead.

Can you give a summary of what the Education Team do at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm?

Our team’s aim is to educate everyone who interacts with the zoo – regardless of age or ability. Our teaching sessions can involve those as young as toddlers (in our ‘Jungle Tots’ parent and toddler group) or elderly residents in care homes.

A huge part of our job is teaching school groups inside the zoo and delivering on-site workshops in our 'Zoo School' classroom. For visiting schools, we deliver an accredited education programme (LOtC) which aims to deliver the national curriculum and learning objectives in a fun, exciting and practical environment. The workshops will revolve around a specific subject that the students are learning about, and we bring out real animals for a hands-on learning experience. The animals include Invertebrates, Reptiles, and Small Mammals. We also run outreach sessions to schools, nurseries and colleges (to name but a few!) where we take our workshops and animals to them!

In addition to educational establishments, we often run outreach sessions at care homes and prisons. These visits give people who would not normally be able to visit the zoo a chance to meet some of our smaller animals and learn more about them.

As well as in-person teaching, we also research, write and help design educational signage around the site. This may include animal pen signs or conservation information.

What does a day in the life of an Education Lead look like?

The Education Team has its own collection of small animals to look after which we use for our workshops. First thing in the morning we spend time with them and carry out daily husbandry tasks such as feeding, cleaning and handling. The rest of the day will usually revolve around running workshops in our classroom or heading off-site for an outreach session. If there aren’t any education sessions booked in for that day we will work through our admin (emails, telephone calls and invoices) and spend time developing future workshops and building on our existing programme.

What sorts of animals feature in your workshops?

The animals in our workshops typically include Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches, Stick Insects, Giant African Land Snails, Royal Pythons and Corn Snakes, Tortoises, and sometimes Guinea Pigs. For each workshop we try to use at least two different species to highlight the differences between species in the topic we are learning about. Our team will take the animals around the classroom for students to see and touch, and then allow some of the invertebrates to be held by the participants if they would like.

The Tortoises and Snakes are usually a big hit with school children. Many people have misconceptions about the Cockroaches and can find their scuttling a bit uncomfortable. However, once people get the chance to meet them up close and hold them, they discover what lovely, easy-going creatures they are. In fact, the Cockroaches are probably my favourite animal to work with and there are plenty of interesting facts to learn about them.

What is your favourite part of working in the Education Team?

I love the teaching and practical side of the job – it’s extremely rewarding to see how the students' faces light up and react when they get to meet the animals. It also feels great to challenge and change misconceptions about specific animals.

When do you run your workshops and outreach? How can people find out more or make a booking? 

We run our workshop and outreach programme all year round. Our website has detailed information about what we offer, our prices, and the workshop lesson plans, etc. To enquire or book a workshop or outreach session we can be contacted either by telephone on 01275 852606 or email educationteam@noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

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