Valley Pre-School buzzes with bee knowledge

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By Andrea Burns
Children at Valley Pre-School (VPS) learned how bees help fruits like apples grow, during a visit from local beekeepers.
“Honeybees are big helpers in the apple orchard,” said Joyce Custer of West Granby. “The honeybee flies from one apple blossom to another and spreads the blossom’s pollen around.”
The visit from the beekeepers is timed each year with a field trip to Lost Acres Orchard so the children can see the connection first hand. The beekeepers also brought in one of the hives they built for the bees to show what the bees do with the nectar from the apple blossoms.

Captions: During a visit to Valley Pre-School, Doreen McWhirter dressed up in the protective outfit beekeepers wear when going to the hives. Photo by Alison Alger Joyce Custer shows Valley Pre-School students the wax honeycombs her bees built.

“The bees build wax honeycombs on the thin rectangle frames inside the hive,” said Doreen McWhirter, Custer’s daughter. “Then they use flower juice or nectar to make honey and put it in the honeycomb. After the bees fill their hive with honey, they share some with the beekeeper.”
The children got to sample some of the honey the beekeepers collected. “We just love seeing the awe on the children’s faces each year when we come to the school,” Custer said. “We enjoy getting down to their level and sharing our knowledge about the role of bees in making gardens grow. The students get such excitement out of seeing something new.”
The Custer family has been coming to VPS since McWhirter’s son was at the school nine years ago. “We are so thankful to the VPS alumni families who return to the school year after year to share their unique talents and knowledge with the children,” said Kathy Jackson, director of VPS. “It’s one of those wonderful bonuses of being a part of a cooperative school.”