Connecting kindergarteners in Australia with sun bears in Borneo

By Wong Siew Te

Stuarts Point Pre School always has a special heart for sun bears ever since I was introduced to their director Erin Chapman last January by a close friend of Erin who visited BSBCC earlier and shared our stories. They would like to do more and to help sun bear. A Sun Bear Project has been initiated in the preschool. The project "hope to raise awareness of the tremendous efforts of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) and to make the little know Sun Bear famous in Stuarts Point and Scotts Head!!!" You can read more about Stuarts Point Pre School and their sun bear project here: http://enhancedlearningspps.blogspot.com.au/p/our-sun-bear-project.html
The very first sun bear project was to introduce the sun bears to the children:
Tuesday 29th January,
Today we introduced the little known Sun Bear to the children, we drew their attention to the Sun Bear's special markings on their chest explaining how the markings look like a sun. We also told the children about the Sun Bear's plight and of how the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Borneo helps rehabilitate rescued Sun Bear's who were taken from their mummy's and put in small cages. This part the children did not like so much and asked: "Why did they get taken?"


Teaching the children to draw a sun bear is not as easy as its look!


Few days later:
"Thursday 31st January,
Today we continued exploring sun bears... We have found it difficult to get some children to relate to the sun bear... so today we tried sparking their interest by viewing images of sun bear teddy bears and then inviting the children to participate in a guided drawing experience..."

On Thursday 21st February, the preschool did a "Sun Bear Fundraiser" by selling "Grub cakes" and "Ant slice"


With all the hard works from the teachers and children, they sold all of their cakes for the day and had a success fundraiser experience!
 On Monday 4 March. 2013, the children had a "skyping the sun bears" experience with me. After the children built and painted a sun bear rainforest habitat in the school, they managed to have a skype with me at the observation platform of BSBCC. The children got to see the sun bear "live" from BSBCC forest enclosure (although the bears were far from my laptop and the images of the bear appeared to be small). The children were excited to see me and the sun bears on their computer. I am having a lot of fun answering the questions that the children asked:

Charlotte: "Do the babies have big yellow marks on their chest too?"
Aiken: "Do Sun Bears build tree houses?"
Matilda: "Do the Sun Bears bite?"
Malu: "Do they have spikey hair"
Asher: "Why do the Sun Bears get locked in cages?"



Using my laptop and my 3G connection for internet, I managed to skype the children from Australia!


Answering questions from kids is always fun :)


The images and voices from the sun bears were spread across the world through skype. Thanks to the technology, additional group of children know more about sun bear and their plights.  They will grow up knowing more about the sun bears and the conservation issues about the rainforest of SE Asia.

We hope we could do this skype call more often with each other.
I hope other school across the world can also "visit" us, "see" the sun bears "digitally" at BSBCC and learn more about the sun bear.  Even better, visit us "physically" next year when we officially open to the public!
Slowly but surely, sun bear the little known bear in the world will become a well known bear!

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