Chrystel Laurent has been a teacher in Morne Vert, Martinique for 8 years. The school where she teaches and the children who live in the small rural village are only 5k from the Caribbean Sea and the beaches of Carbet.
Chrystel tells us that despite the close proximity to the sea, few students regularly go to the water, and even fewer have ever had the opportunity to observe the underwater life with a mask and snorkel. She says her students are passionate about stories or documentaries about maritime life, but do not fully enjoy the richness that surrounds them. Because of this, Chrystel has decided to involve her students in educational projects around the marine environment.
What do your students study about the oceans?
For two years I have been working closely with the association “Mon école Ma baleine”.
The aim is to make children aware of the protection of the marine environment by bringing them subjects of study that will interest them. Marine mammals were the ideal topic to start the project last year. Know more about cetaceans and the environment in which they live to better protect them!
From documentary films, readings, videos, the meeting with François Sarano … the students made two information panels on the dolphin and the killer whale. These panels will be installed on a beach by the town hall of Carbet. They also made a big painting fresco to decorate the school.
This year, the same students are continuing the project and are interested in animals in danger around the world. As for the marine environment, we started this year a work on the monk seal, the manatee and the mangrove, an environment totally unknown to children, yet so close to them. The work will continue throughout the year.
The final goal is the dissemination of writings (posters, books …) produced by children.
Was it impactful for your students to visit Monaco Explorations?
When I introduced Monaco Explorations to my class, the students immediately imagined a boat going on an adventure around the world! The words “scientists on mission” aroused some wonder among many of them. I think that this meeting will first of all feed their imagination, which occupies a big part of development at their age.
I think that seeing the material used, the analysis made in the laboratory, the photos or videos … will allow them to better understand the role of these oceanographic missions around the world.
Will the visit with us help you in your mission to teach students about marine environments?
This meeting will first allow me to change the ideas and knowledge of students. It is important that they understand that protecting the sea is not just about pollution, or overfishing. The visit will allow them to understand that there are scientific missions that directly contribute to the protection of marine environments. Being able to board the boat and ask questions directly to the chef de mission and to the scientists will mark their spirit and make the learning process even easier and more motivating because they will be closer to them after the experience they have had. To build learning effectively, it is important to start from motivating situations for the child and his / her experience.