Presented by Saint Louis Zoo Docents Mary Lasko, JoAnn Travis and Marianne Unanue
Do you care about animals? WEE CARE is a pilot program at the Saint Louis Zoo that aims to help young children (grades K-2) understand that all animals require food, water, shelter, attention to health needs and something to do with their time. Think of the different ways theses needs are met at the zoo, in the wild (outdoors) and at home (household pets). WEE CARE uses docents, puppets, costumes, power point (or slides), laminated pictures, and live animals to explore these concepts. The forty-five minute program will be presented as follows:
I. 5 minute introduction of concepts.
II. 25 minute activity in which a docent is dressed in a tree costume which is native to the biome. The tree stands at the edge of a water source. Children use puppets to discuss where the animal lives, how it gets food and water, protects itself and keeps busy. Once that activity is completed, the children are given laminated pictures that coincide with the pictures in the power point. During the presentation they must:
(a) Discuss the concepts as they apply to the animals at home, in the wild and at the zoo.
(b) Identify the appropriate environment for each animal.
The purpose of this activity is threefold:
(1) To understand the similarities and differences in care of animals in three unique environments.
(2) Identify the appropriate environment for each animal.
(3) Develop an understanding of the Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institutes conservation practices and transfer those practices into activities they can do in their own environment.
III. 10 minute live animal encounter with native animals. Questions are asked to re-enforce the concepts.
IV. Awarding certificates making children members of the WEE CARE INSTITUTE. Each child will also receive a workbook with age-appropriate exercises such as observation, sorting, matching.