Teaching Beekeeping to Kids Improves School Behavior

Health & Wellness on 09.02.11
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Photo: Emma Jane Hogbin/Creative Commons

When I asked readers whether they would let their kids try beekeeping, the response was, generally speaking, positive. After all, with the appropriate safety precautions, bees can provide a fascinating insight into the natural world and, as I argued in my post, they can also serve as a tool for positive emotional development and anger management. (Opening up a hive when you are in a bad mood is a very bad idea.)

As both a failed beekeeper, and a parent dealing with the terrible twos, I was particularly interested to read on The Guardian's website about a primary (aka elementary) school in Greenwich, London, which has introduced beekeeping classes for its kids, having noted how fascinated kids were when an uninvited swarm decended on the playground. The result has not just been a learning experience, and a chance to create revenue streams through the sale of honey, but the headteacher also reports that children's behavior has significantly improved:

"One pupil was a regular visitor to the school's behavioural support house because of his violent outbursts of kicking, punching and throwing furniture around. While he struggled with academic work, he discovered that he excelled at the the practical side of beekeeping: making the wooden frames that go into the hive, and dismantling the hive to access the honey. When the Guardian's bees expert, Alison Benjamin, visited the school, the pupil told her: "The bees made me peaceful and calm."

I would love to hear of any similar projects based here in the US. We've already seen beekeeping as both a therapy and job rehabilitation tool for people with felony convictions in Chicago, so it stands to reason that it could also be used to help children who are struggling with behavior problems or engagement issues in regular classrooms too.

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