School’s back for summer! As Covid-19 infection rates drop and temperatures rise, life is returning to the Tierpark School. It is now welcoming school classes once more, and staff at both Tierpark and Zoo are again taking bookings for children’s birthday parties and unique close-up animal experiences. In line with the Berlin Senate’s recommendation that children spend the last few days of school before the summer holidays getting plenty of fresh air out of doors, Tierpark Berlin is opening the new central hub of its extracurricular learning centre: the Green Classroom.
With the support of local cooperative bank Berliner Volksbank, a long-cherished dream is coming true for the Tierpark School team this summer. Over the next three years, an educational nature trail will be created in the garden next to the Tierpark School. Here, children will be able to independently explore nature and uncover some of its secrets. The first group of schoolchildren to attend the unusual outdoor classroom – surely the safest in the city as far as Covid-19 is concerned – were 12 pupils from the neighbouring George Orwell School, a secondary school that became the official partner school of Tierpark Berlin this summer.
How do trees help our climate? What would the world be like without insects? Which herbaceous plants are edible? How does natural recycling work? What animals can be found living in a pile of stones? At various education stations, explorers of all ages can independently find out the answers to these and many other questions. On the future nature trail, which is now being developed step by step, schoolchildren in years 3 to 8 will be able inspect an insect hotel, match leaves and fruits to the appropriate trees, and get plenty of good ideas about how to make gardens more accommodating for lots of different native wild animals. The Green Classroom therefore provides the perfect base for a fascinating lesson in the great outdoors.
Learning for life at Tierpark Berlin
As ambassadors for their species, the animal inhabitants of Tierpark Berlin are able to achieve something that textbooks struggle to do: they appeal to people on an emotional level, raising awareness of their endangered status and encouraging people to do all they can to help protect their fellows in the wild. This is a central task of modern zoos. As a scientifically managed institution, Zoo and Tierpark Berlin take their educational mission very seriously, with knowledge transfer taking place in many different ways. By experiencing the animals with all their senses, engaging with appealingly presented information on signs throughout the park, and observing commentated feeding sessions with keepers, visitors gain deeper insight into the fascinating animal kingdom.
The Tierpark School is the educational heart of Tierpark Berlin, located in the former home of the Tierpark’s founder Prof. Heinrich Dathe, not far from the Bärenschaufenster entrance. It offers an extensive range of informative courses for all age groups and its programme for school pupils has been developed in line with the Berlin curriculum. Each year, around 7,000 pupils are able to benefit from the programme. In fascinating age-appropriate guided tours and workshops, schoolchildren learn about topics related to biology, environmental science, politics, culture and geography. Together, they explore the various types of animal habitats on our planet, while hearing entertaining stories from the animal kingdom. They are also expressly encouraged to ask questions of the experienced Tierpark guides. The Tierpark School thus teaches visitors of all ages about the intriguing ways in which our furry, feathered and scaly friends have adapted to their environment and how they reproduce and communicate. And the Tierpark School’s extraordinary commitment has received national recognition: last year, it was awarded a prize by the UN Decade on Biological Diversity.
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