Monkey Puzzle Montessori School in sponsored koala walk
PUPILS at the Monkey Puzzle Montessori School were so moved by the plight of wildlife caught in the Australian bushfires that they organised a sponsored koala walk.
On Thursday they were running, walking and skipping around Cambridge Park while wearing special koala bear ears.
The really little ones were only going to walk up Winston Churchill Avenue, but they felt spurred on to follow the older classes and go further.
The youngsters have also been learning more about koalas, kangaroos, wombats and native Australian species during their lessons.
Massimo Laverello, 5, knows that Australia is a long way away, but said it was important to help.
‘We’ve been running laps to raise money to help koala bears in bushfires or in the cutting down of trees.
‘Koala bears are just like kangaroos, they have the little pockets called pouches, and they open downwards.
‘On the news my teacher saw a koala bear and there was a person cycling and the koala bear drank out of the cyclist’s bottle.’
James Falla, 5, had never been to Australia, but was interested to learn more about the other side of the world.
‘We’ve been trying to save the animals in the Australia bushfire because it makes us feel sad and we wanted to do something about it because it’s important to be kind.’
Five-year-old Leo Sykes agreed with that sentiment.
‘We don’t have any pets but I really like animals and learning about them. Koalas are not bears and baby koalas are called joeys, which is the same name as baby kangaroos and they are furry.
‘I don’t watch the news but my teacher said the animals need water and leaves, and it’s sad because they don’t have a house or home.’
It is estimated that over a billion animals have been killed by the devastating fires, which have been fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought.
Of that number, around 8,400 koalas are thought to have perished.
The koala is an iconic animal for Australia and the species was already under threat before the fires began.
Teacher Christine Le Huray said helping animals was something that resonated strongly with the children.
‘We have quite a few children who either have connections with Australia, or are from Australia, so the discussion came up about the wildlife, so we’ve been looking at the different types of animals that have been affected.
‘We have one child in our class that was out in Australia just before Christmas and of course it looked foggy to him and it was explained to him what was happening.’
By Thursday morning the fundraising had passed the £400 mark.