Back to school at Pulau

by Ana Pinto on

I am really excited to visit Pulau School, so when I bump into the school teacher, Jim, we agree on a suitable afternoon for me to drop by and spend some time learning about what school life is like in Pitcairn. This will help me to show children in the UK what it is like to go to school in one of the most remote places on earth!

Cushana and Adrianna hard at work in school
Cushana and Adrianna hard at work in school

I visit Pulau School on a sunny afternoon and meet the school children. There are only 8 children in the Pulau School at the moment (Kimiora- 14, Bradley- 13, Torika- 12, Emily-11, Ryan- 9, Cushana- 6, Adrianna- 7 and Izzy- 4).

Ana and students outside the school
Outside the school

Jim is the only teacher and a very busy man, balancing the needs of his students who are all of different ages and learning different things, but he tells me he loves the job and that the children are hard-working and well behaved.  I ask them what they have been learning about recently and the children show me some of the artwork that they have been working on the past few days. 

Cushana with her painting
Cushana with her painting

When I tell them that I work at London Zoo they all want to know what I do! After I describe a typical day in the Discovery and Learning department at ZSL, I tell them about the different animals we look after in both zoos. As I show them pictures of some of the animals from London and Whipsnade Zoos, the children seem particularly excited about the beautiful Sumatran tiger cubs at London Zoo! Some of the children have never been to a zoo before and have never seen these animals in real life! (There are no mammals in Pitcairn, because it is so isolated from the rest of the world - the only mammals that made it here are humans, rats, cats and goats!)

The children tell me about some of the animals and plants that can be found on Pitcairn, such as the Pitcairn warbler; crabs; humpback whales; lizards and even Mrs T, the Galapagos tortoise, and we talk about different habitats that different animals and plants live in. I show the children a hygrometer that I brought with me from London Zoo so that we can measure the temperature and humidity right here on Pitcairn!

 Measuring the temperature and humidity
Measuring the temperature and humidity outside Pulau School

We compare our readings and interestingly, Pulau School’s playground measured 26.9 degrees C and 67% humidity which is very similar to the Rainforest exhibit at London Zoo (the students there measure on average a temperature of 29 degrees C and 75% humidity)!

We all look at a map of the world that shows where ZSL is working to protect animals and their habitats.  We talk about how ZSL is working to help Pitcairn's very own wildlife right here in their home, by working in partnership with the Pitcairn community to ensure sustainable use of their marine resources and supporting the marine reserve that is being proposed to the UK government to make Pitcairn the largest marine reserve in the world. As they show me some paintings of the amazing local marine life that they did themselves we all agree that the islands they call home and their plentiful seas indeed need protection. 

Torika's painting
Torika's painting


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