We’ve been working with Ignite TSA and 45 schools across the region to place conservation at the heart of school curriculum, empowering the conservationists of the future.
We believe that wildlife conservation should be a core theme across all curriculum subjects. We want to empower young people to make a difference in the world and ensure that their school curriculum supports this. Through training teachers, we can increase confidence in teaching about conservation issues and increase young people’s access to quality conservation education.
As part of the IgniteZoo curriculum design project in both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic years, the zoo worked alongside subject specialists and education experts, including Hywel Roberts and Dr Debra Kidd, to deliver a series of professional development sessions to teachers from the participating schools. The zoo provided the conservation context to the training, enabling teachers to build their conservation curriculum around the zoo’s core campaigns: the illegal wildlife trade, sustainable palm oil and wildlife connections.
Evaluation of the wider IgniteZoo project demonstrated the impact of the CPD sessions on teachers’ perception of curriculum, with participants reporting more confidence in developing the curriculum around a particular theme. Participating teachers also reported an increased connection to nature and most significantly increased confidence in taking action to protect endangered species themselves. By the end of the project 90% said they felt they could take action to protect endangered species themselves, compared to 59% at the start.
Further qualitative research conducted by researchers from Curious Minds saw teachers praising and highlighting some of the positive aspects of the project:
The sense of “botheredness” that was visible from the children
Cohesive approach bringing the school together!
Seeing the children’s excitement and genuine interest in wanting to learn and seeing how learning about this project and changed children’s views
The evidence suggests that a conservation theme at the heart of a curriculum not only increases pupil’s engagement but leads to positive conservation behaviour change.
Jenny from Lostock Gralam primary tells us more about their project about palm oil:
Conservation Curriculum project has involved 45 schools across the north west
Participating teachers report a significant positive change in their conservation efficacy.
Research suggests the power of a conservation curriculum to empower teachers and inspire students.