Kindergarten bee inquiry student Kaybree Conly from Mother Teresa Early Childhood Education Centre gets into her bee suit with help from her mom Amy during an educational outing Tuesday at the backyard of Laurie and Dusty Makichuk who raise bees and teach kids about bees.
The backyard of Laurie and Dusty Makichuk has been a hive of activity for weeks with young students coming by to learn firsthand about the bees the retirees are keeping.
The Makichuks call the educational opportunity a bee inquiry in partnership with the Lloydminster Catholic School Division with many schools taking part.
The learning inquiry wrapped up Wednesday with a backyard visit by kindergarden students from Mother Teresa Early Childhood Education Centre who have learning about bees from Laurie in the classroom.
“I am over the moon excited to have these kids see this,” said Laurie.
“This is the final day of our six week program that we implemented with Mother Teresa.”
Mother Theresa kindergarden teacher Michelle Bulduc started the classroom bee inquiry partnership and says student have been learning so much information about bees.
“It’s so exciting we’ve been waiting; we’ve been learning so much,” she said.
“Now they get to have the first hand experience of it so all their learning is put into today.”
The Makichuks have four hives of bees and an observation hive Laurie started with the Mother Teresa youngsters in the classroom with a queen bee.
“We are going to link together the importance of planting seeds and flowers and plants for the bees to do their work,” she said about the backyard educational experience.
She and Dusty set up six different learning and activity centres for the kids to rotate through with help from teachers, staff members and parents.
The backyard activities included beeswax art, decorating flower shaped cookies, planting sunflower seeds with kids suiting up in protective gear to observe bees in their hives.
“It’s a practical program that provides the youngest children we have to really interact with how the world works and how the world grows,” said LCSD director of eduction Nigel McCarthy.
“I am very excited this opportunity is brought to the students at LCSD.”
He says the kids are learning everything from the production of honey and products bees provide us with to how bees relate to the fruits and crops that are so important to Lloydminster.
“It’s just amazing,” he said.
“When we walk this road of inquiry and full year kindergarden at Mother Teresa, it gives us the opportunity to do so many of these extra things that really fill out learning for children and enable them to engage with learning on their own terms.”
About 47 students from St. Joseph Elementary School visited the day before with Dusty the ever ready host dressed in a beekeeper’s hat to show the bees to kids.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “We got it going and Laurie has expanded it to a another level to teach a bunch of students about what’s going on.”
Dusty said the children are very excited to put the uniforms on and go see the bees.
“If we can get at least one of them interested in bees when they get older they can carry something on as they get to adult age.”
He said he got his interest in beekeeping as a youngster growing up on a farm in Manitoba with a nearby bee operation.