Edinburgh Zoo Summer School
Edinburgh Zoo Summer School. from Edinburgh University
An important role of zoos is to inspire the young to care for wildlife and the environment
An excellent example of this comes from the Edinburgh Zoo summer schools. In 2004, for the eighth consecutive year, Edinburgh Zoo offered its popular one-week summer school, running over a period of four weeks from mid-July, Monday-Friday 9.00am-3.30pm.
This year, a total of 384 children aged 6-14 years took part, divided into four age groups. The 2004 theme was Asia – Year of the Monkey, tied to the Scottish 5-14 curriculum. Using animals as a trigger, they explored ideas about how animals fit into culture, the culture itself and species-specific conservation issues.
A main focus was the Hindu festival of Dusshera, which features several animals, real and mythological, and the Zoo worked in partnership with the Scottish Indian Arts Forum to involve Indian artists, dancers and others to help deliver the theme. In addition to normal classes and animal studies, children took part in a range of activities including photography, model making, animal handling, animal behavioural studies, crafts and music. Each week ended with a concert, to which parents and carers were invited.
The learning objectives were all met, feedback from children and parents was excellent, and the Zoo has now established effective links with the wider Asian community. One spin-off was the delivery of a special Dusshera topic offered to local schools in the two weeks prior to the festival of Dusshera in October.
Developed by: Edinburgh University