Kids in Parks
The Kids in Parks Programme provides a unique opportunity for learners and their educators to visit a national park and learn about South Africa's natural and cultural heritage. The three-day programme allows for a loads of discovery, learning and fun for kids.
The programme exposes the importance of a national park to learners from nearby schools – and mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds. The children learn to identify, name and describe the fauna and flora. They learn about biodiversity and how to sustain it.
Special activities make learners aware of the importance of water conservation, a critical area in the country. The overnight camp is also an ideal opportunity to make young people aware of careers in conservation. The kids are housed in dorms. They are provided with three meals a day and educational material.
The Kids in Parks initiative is being phased in over a period of three years. Each year five different parks will welcome ten groups of 50 learners and 2 teachers. This means that eventually a total of 7 500 learners, 300 educators from 150 primary schools will have visited 15 parks.
The programme is a partnership between the Department of Environmental Affairs, its entity SANParks, the Department of Basic Education and retailer Pick ‘n Pay. After the 2003 legislation that phased out plastic shopping bags, Pick ‘n Pay introduced green bags into the market. R1 from every R5 bag has gone to a special environmental fund, which now provides the financial backbone for Kids in Parks.
To view images of the youngsters at the national parks, visit the Kids in Parks picture gallery.