MELISSA – a project about bees, friendship, culture and so much more

The MELISSA project is an Erasmus+ funded project which proposes to raise the profile of the environmental importance of bees locally, nationally and internationally.

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27th February 2020 — The project involves pupils aged 7-15 from schools across Europe: from Craigclowan Prep School in Perth in Scotland, Thessaloniki in Greece, Voru in Estonia, Angra do Heroismo in the Azores and Verbania-Pallanza in Italy. These schools were carefully selected as they each offer unique skills and experience which they will bring to the project. Uniquely to this project, pupils will also research and demonstrate the importance of bee-keeping both historically and culturally, within an international context.

The project is based around clearly defined, cross-curricular, transnational tasks, each with a specific, measurable outcome. It has at its heart the desire to ensure that pupils leave school environmentally aware, qualified, skilled, optimistic and enthusiastic about their role as a European citizen. It proposes to foster an understanding of bees whilst offering the opportunity for entrepreneurship from an early age. It aims to inspire young people, to build on their sense of initiative and to show them that, through team work, cooperation, hard work and good leadership, they can create new resources, overcome challenges and become successful beekeeping ambassadors for their schools, families and countries.

The pupils involved in the project are becoming confident contributors, as they are required to present their work, in different languages, at all stages of their project, discuss their rationale, travel and meet fellow pupils from different countries and share what they have learnt from these experiences back home.

A group of six Craigclowan pupils have just returned from Terceira Island in the Azores where they participated in their first Learning, Teaching and Training Activity. More than sixty pupils from across Europe spent a week working together on the project; presenting their research, visiting local apiaries and cooperatives, producing models of beehives and making new friends. Pupils stayed with host families where they were treated to Portuguese hospitality at its finest! On his return, one of the Craigclowan pupils said, “Last night I dreamed of our fantastic adventure and the new friends we’d made. It somehow didn’t feel real”.

The entrepreneurial spirit of young people will be fostered by way of a final "Bee Fayre" where pupils will present the outcomes of the project and market their bee-related products. We’ll be exploring the impact of bees on our culture, literature, arts and music, the history and styles of bee-keeping and the life of bees, how they make honey, the relationship between humans and bees, how to become a bee-keeper and the commercial/health products derived from bees. Many longer term, sustainable benefits from this project are anticipated: having established our schools as bee-keeping schools we hope to become an attraction and a source of knowledge from which other schools and community groups can benefit, hence the production of a guide to bee-keeping for primary schools/community groups will be an outcome of this project for everyone.

About Craigclowan Preparatory School

Craigclowan School is unique in Perthshire as a fully co-educational, independent day school catering for children from the age of three to thirteen. Located on the edge of The Fair City, we are fortunate to be able to offer a rural setting with superb, modern facilities. Our aim is simple: to provide an all-round education for our pupils that prepares them for the senior school of their choice and, in doing so, helps them discover the balance between work and play. We expect our pupils to be caring, responsible and independent and to have the time and space to enjoy the opportunities that childhood offers in our beautiful and private grounds.

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