A new project aimed at helping schools teach enterprising skills to 5-6 year olds launches this May.
The Bumbles of Honeywood is a set of books, online resources and educational materials designed in response to changes to the curriculum in Wales that make enterprise skills a key pillar for schools.
The Donaldson Report, commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2015, states that from 2018 schools should develop creativity and enterprise throughout children’s school career.
The Bumbles of Honeywood will help schools fulfil this requirement.
The project was created by Sue Poole, CEO and director of the Swansea-based Centre for Entrepreneurial Education, an independent organisation that seeks to boost entrepreneurship in learners of all ages, and beyond the school or college environment.
Sue came up with the idea for The Bumbles of Honeywood two years ago, while her husband was undergoing medical treatment. It fell on her to walk the couple’s new puppy every morning, and during this time the idea for The Bumbles was born.
“I was thinking about how we could engage youngsters as soon as they entered full time school in developing the all-important entrepreneurial skills and how I could excite and immerse them in a fun, interesting but educational entrepreneurial programme,” said Sue.
“The quiet times spent walking the dog gave me time and space to think about new ideas and the Bumbles of Honeywood came to me. I learnt a great deal about Bees and how they are very enterprising creatures, teamwork is vitally important to the success of the hive, bees they have to solve problems, be creative and are very determined, all key enterprising traits.
Over the space of the following year, six stories developed in my head which have now been translated into books about the adventures of a family of bees called the “Bumbles of Honeywood.”
Schools that invest in the project receive the set of books plus access to a set of accompanying resource including mini pots of honey, finger puppets, plant pots and seeds, school wall charts and much more.
The books and interactive associated activities introduce the youngsters aged 5 and 6 to the seven areas of learning that form part of the school’s curriculum. These include knowledge and understanding of the world, literacy and communication skills, digital literacy and mathematical development.
“Importantly they also help children apply learning to create new innovative solutions, identify and grasp opportunities and research and analyse information,” said Sue. “As part of the changes to the curriculum in 2018 enterprise and creativity are key pillars for schools and the Bumbles of Honeywood will fulfil this aspect for schools.
“Parents can also work with the children as they can purchase the books and associated activities to work on at home helping them achieve successful futures.”
Besides teaching enterprising skills, the Bumbles of Honeywood teaches children about conservation by examining the current environmental threats to bees.
“It’s tempting to think bees just provide us with honey – but in fact they’re behind much of the food we eat, including most fruit and vegetables,” said Sue. “Bees are crucial to our economy – without them it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate our crops. In a world without bees, our food would cost a lot more to produce and our economy would take a big hit. It’s important to teach future generations about this.”
With pilots currently underway and the launch date set for May 8, The Bumbles of Honeywood could help hundreds of schools and parents nurture the skills needed to thrive in business and in the workplace. Current feedback from the pilots has been very promising.
“The feedback has been amazing,” said Sue. “Everyone we have engaged with has loved the stories and the characters. The books, which have been illustrated by Waters Creative, are exactly as I would have wanted – they have done an amazing job. We are piloting the books in a number of primary schools across Swansea before we go to full launch in May.”