The after-school Environmental Curriculum begins with the SeaStars (Grades 4 and 5) and an introduction to the marine environment through such topics as Ocean Zones, Awesome Ocean Species and Roles of Marine Life.

Some of the topics covered by the SeaStars

Each child is given a personalised Ocean Journal in which to write down any questions they may have, the good ocean-minded choices that they made the previous week, information about a marine species that they have chosen and any cool facts that they have learnt about the ocean. Sessions begin with group discussions surrounding the information that they have brought with them. They are also encouraged to draw any new species that they may have encountered and to share any ideas they may have for topics that they would like covered.

Ocean View SeaStars – Assisted Reading Group
Communication is so important to convey feelings, experiences and information, and this can be done through storeytelling, writing and reading. To not be able to communicate in one of those ways means that you could miss out on some really awesome things. We have initiated an Assisted Reading Group where the Ocean View SeaStars help others to experience the ocean, to peer beneath her waves and to discover the magic in nature, through those three types of communication. Paired reading allows for one-on-one attention at the pace of the student. Each pair then reports back to the group about their book; what it’s about, what they have learnt and what they have enjoyed. They also get to make their own pack of ocean-themed flash cards to familiarise themselves with marine species and terms.

“Putting a Lid on Pollution” – A Kelp Forest Mural by the Ocean View SeaStars
The aim of this piece is for it to become a visual reminder of the plastic waste rapidly clogging ocean ecosystems, and to encourage conversations about how we can minimise our impact on the environment. Each week the Ocean View SeaStars will ficus on a species; they will learn what roles the species has within the kelp forest ecosystems and then they will work together to build it out of the beach-cast plastic. We will also be spending time discussing how to prevent so much waste ending up in the ocean. We hope to make this into a travelling artwork that will accompany the students as they visit school to chat about marine pollution and the power of our choices.

Blue whales made by the American International School of Cape Town students during Term 2 of the SeaStars Programme

Mascot:

  • African spiny sea star
  • Scientific Name: Marthasterias africana
  • IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
  • Distribution: Southern African endemic. Found along the west and south coasts of South Africa, to a depth of approximately 150 m.
  • Average Adult Size: 200-250 mm across
  • Locomotion: Involves the use of tube feet whose ends are shaped like suction pads. Secreted mucus helps with the stickiness.
  • Predators: Crabs, sharks, seabirds and even other echinoderms. Their spines help defend them against these predators.
  • Interesting Fact: These animals are ravenous predators; hunching over their prey, they expel their stomach through their mouth and digest the prey externally.