GEKA are joining the Bear Hunt!
The GEKA Community have joined the global bear hunt, making walks around the local neighbourhood a little more interesting, at a time where the world comes to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic.
People all around the world (not just locally!) have been putting teddy bears and other soft toys in windows and in trees, encouraging children to get outdoors for a walk with their family, to hunt for bears! It’s a great way to keep children active by walking around and spotting the furry toys and importantly, distracted, from the worry of the news.
The bear hunt is inspired by the children’s book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, in which the characters sing: “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one — what a beautiful day, we’re not scared.’’
The initiative has been widely shared on community Facebook pages across the world, bringing a welcome distraction during a time when daily routines have changed for both children and adults.
Educator, Racquel Luntz, has been an advocate for GEKA’s involvement in the community project, believing the underlying benefits will help children in uncertain times. She says, “During times of stress and anxiety, children sense and respond to the heightened emotions of their parents, family members and friends, even if it doesn’t seem evident. Young children are equally as vulnerable to the hyperboles and sensationalism of the media; yet they are often are unable to process and understand the information contextually. As Educators, we see it as integral to support children to feel safe, secure and to reassure them that there is life beyond the stress and panic that has ensued with Covid-19.” As a community, we need to work together to support our youngest members of society, so that they can work through ‘big’ emotions and understand the context of their world in a way that is comforting. Educators, families and the wider community need to work together to ensure this remains our priority.
Racquel continue to reflect; “One of the ways we can support children to feel a sense of joy and excitement, is to participate in and promote the ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’/‘Spot the Bear’ initiative. We’ve now put teddy bears, dinosaurs and fairies, out the front of all GEKA services, for the children to find! As you take your child/ren for a walk, we encourage you to identify and note the bears you spot as you go. Help children achieve this for themselves, as this establishes a sense of pride in their ability to spot the bears. It also provides an opportunity for developing partnerships with the local community, many of whom are also taking part.”
Children could also count the number of bears they find (mathematics) and look for similarities in the bears they find, such as, how many bears have hats? How many have bows? How many are wearing clothes? How many are brown? Supporting children to reflect on these questions supports their sense of curiosity and keeps children persisting! Family members may ask their child these questions before going out on a bear hunt, so they are provided with an opportunity to hypothesise and investigate what might be – all skills essential for developing problem solving and an inquiring mind.
Aside from the many learning benefits (and there are MANY more!), the idea that children go out into the local community with a focus, creates a sense of excitement and FUN! The bears, for us at GEKA, are a symbol of HOPE and TOGETHERNESS. They remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that we are not alone.
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