S.L.O.W. – Slow Loris Outreach Week means that as environmental education manager I get to share a LOT of loris love this week! Every week we visit a different primary school and share our education program ‘Forest Protector’ with Grade 4 & 5 children. Forest Protector teaches children about the lorises in a fun and interactive way.
This week was a little different, as we decided to visit a local kindergarten and see how the littlest of firefaces enjoyed learning about slow loris. Remember, these children were between three and five years old. Our local teaching assistant, Sri, read the ‘Forest Protector’ loris story to 32 mesmerised children and they acted out parts of the story by showing how slow lorises catch insects, lick flowers and do the venom pose. Their little faces lit up at the turn of every page and they asked lots of questions. “Does a loris sleep in a bed?” Not quite, they sleep on branches curled in a ball.
After the interactive story time, children enjoyed colouring in a slow loris colouring page from our Forest Protector book. I have never seen so many beautiful lorises in all my life, they were pink blue, yellow and multi-coloured. I have never seen such determined and happy faces in my life! To be honest, it made me shed a teeny tiny tear. It was like this was the best thing that had happened at kinder in a long time!
The highlight of the day for the little ones was when our slow loris mascot ‘Tereh’ visited the classroom. There were screams of pure delight and lots of running around the classroom yelling “Tereh! Tereh! Tereh!” The one thing that I LOVE about this village in West Java is that children are allowed to be children, if fact, it is encouraged! It is OK to yell and have fun and it is OK to be silly! The children had a fabulous time and actually learned a lot!
The mums who were assisting at kinder were enjoying themselves as much as the children and they enjoyed learning about the slow loris too!
I don’t want to ever imagine myself leaving the Little Fireface Project. Every single day brings me a sense of happiness I cannot explain. This place is magical. The village, the lorises, the people, everything.
Sharon Williams – LFP Field Station Coordinator/Environmental Education Manager