My girls are very much into Nature and Wild Life. I can’t imagine why. Could it possibly have something to do with a bird-mad teacher frequently asking them to be still and listen – Isn’t that the Klaas’s cuckoo calling? Or when on our way to the Walk-it circuit she gets them to stop and look – the chaffinch is They all know the distinctive – “Marietjie” sound of the cuckoo now and they are the ones to tell me what birds are foraging in the school garden. We don’t do birds specifically as a topic in Grade One – but water and its importance is something we do learn and of course water birds come into that!. So an excursion to Rondevlei was on our Agenda this wee
After researching “Rondevlei” on the Ipads my little Nature Freaks were keen to find all the creatures they’d seen in the images but high on their wish list was – Hippo! Rondevlei has a population of about eight but they are seldom seen during the day – However, a skull of a dead one caused great excitement and our brother class were particularly thrilled to hear about their strong teeth and fighting ability!
After listening to all the exciting things you could find in the sanctuary from mongoose to Egyptian goose the children were divided into three groups. I went along with 20 of my girls and we started in the museum. Here they learned all about the creatures that lived in the area and then they were sent on a “treasure hunt” to find ‘something soft’ , a leaf that smelled nice, something that began with s, etc. etc. There was hippo poo everywhere and the boys weren’t shire to pop a handful in their packets while the girls were totally grossed out!
On our route to find our treasures we stopped to learn important eco facts, climbed a tower to get a panoramic view of the vlei, and popped into the hides to see the water birds.
After our exploring the hides we returned to have a snack in the picnic site – a highlight for some of the children! Then we went back indoors for a fabulous puppet show about how a baby spoonbill found his mother by checking to see if his bill and feet looked the same as hers!
Some amusing things from the mouths of babes!
Why do you think the spoonbill is so named? Because his ‘nose’ is shaped like a spoon.
What is a river horse? A horse that swims in a river! Actually it’s a hippo!
Finally it was time to go home. How amazing lucky are we to have a place like Rondevlei right on our doorstep – just half an hour’s drive from school. The children returned with new knowledge of how water is purified by the reeds, now creatures depend on a healthy ecosystem and what our duty is to protect all wildlife. It was a stunning excursion enjoyed by both children and teachers. Let’s hope we are raising a generation of eco friendly children who will look after the planet when we are gone!