Edu.Cat is Back!
This year has been an uncertain challenge at times, but one thing that is certain is the Edu.Cat team are looking forward to being back in classrooms delivering the Edu.Cat STEM Program to students across the state.
ARTICLE BY: Freya Langford-Sidebottom, Ten Lives.
INTERVIEW WITH: Rose Bray, Ten Lives Community and Education Manager.
Edu.Cat is our exciting Australian-first Curriculum aligned feline education program focusing on fostering responsible cat ownership. The program is free and available to all schools in Tasmania. It includes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) challenges, incursions, teacher guidebooks, activity plans, student workbooks, posters, online resources and more!
Rose Bray is the Ten Lives Community and Education Manager, and she is keen to get back to it now restrictions are easing. Starting at Ten Lives nearly eight years ago, Rose was shocked at the sheer volume of cats coming into the shelter, and decided that changes and education needed to be introduced to the greater public. “We need to educate people about what they can do, and make them aware of the issues around cat ownership,” she says.
The Edu.Cat program was launched in 2017, “I did some research, and knew I wanted the program linked to the Australian curriculum, and spent many hours making sure there wasn’t something similar already out there. Nothing was already in place, so I set about making the course”, says Rose. Three years on, it is now “a complete, mature program. We have lots of trained facilitators, a great diverse range of volunteers on board to help us run it including principals, teachers and scientists. We are in a great position to go, go, go now that school is back! ”
Rather than just having an informal chat about cats, the program aims to build the important long-term social understanding about cat management; as Ten Lives manager Noel Hunt likes to say: “it’s much more than just a cat show and tell.”
The program is designed for Kindergarten through to Grade 7 so that, as Rose explains, “each year the students can build on the knowledge that the program has previously taught them. So, by the time they have finished Grade 7, the students have a really comprehensive knowledge to be able to make informed decisions as cat owners themselves.”
She has noted that some students (and teachers) aren’t aware of things like the longevity of cats, breeding cycles, issues such as cat overpopulation, or the pros and cons of cat containment. An example of this that Rose cites is a student in Grade 3, who told her about his family cat who had been hurt in a fight. He learned through the program that cats can be contained, and, as a result of this, the student said he had hopes of educating his family and convincing them to erect an outdoor enclosure to stop his cat getting hurt again.
One of the great parts of the program is the fun and empowering, hands-on STEM aspect. In cases like the above containment course, students can enjoy such projects as designing an enclosure that considers the needs of both the cat and the owner, and making a model of their design.
2020 would have been a record year for Edu.Cat attendance, and we are keen to get the ball rolling again, with high hopes for 2021. Schools who had originally postponed their sessions are now back on board, and Rose says that she has even been receiving inquiries and bookings from college-level classes hoping to sign on! In her own words, the Edu.Cat program is “fun, interactive, engaging, and hands-on”, and additional aspects can be requested such as having a cat accompany the facilitators to the classroom, and organising tours of the Centre itself.
We invite you to be a part of this positive environmental change by booking Edu.Cat for your students free of charge. Visit tenlives.com.au to submit a Teacher Inquiry Form!
“A fantastic hands-on experience. Activities and content were developmentally appropriate and students were thoroughly engaged.”
-Lauderdale Primary, Prep
“The education and awareness which Edu.Cat provides for students is very well received. Students were engaged and thinking critically.”
-Molesworth Primary, Year 5