Alumni Bulletin Summer 2019

Teaching Mindfulness through Beekeeping

3 Jul 2019
Photo by Clare Keogh

Sarah Kearney, a fourth year Social Work student at UCC, is using beehives to teach mindfulness to students at Cork City Learning Support Centre.

For her undergraduate placement, Sarah wanted to find a new way to engage her students; many of whom are from war-torn countries, and all of whom are, sadly, processing some form of trauma.

Sarah uses beekeeping to help her class develop essential coping skills for use both inside and outside of the classroom. “I’ve learned a lot of coping skills while managing hives. You have to be emotionally regulated; you can’t get panicked or run away – they’ll come after you!” she laughs. “As a beekeeper, you have to go at a slow pace. I wasn’t, at the start – it was all rush, rush, rush. It was only through practicing that I learned the benefit of mindfulness.”

This first beehive, which contained 120,000 bees was introduced a year-and-a-half ago to the class resulting in a marked increase in productivity and concentration levels. From tending to the hives on the roof, to building the bee-boxes and creating a special garden to help the bees to thrive; this has become a labour of love for Sarah’s class. “The hive is a community, and that’s helping the young people to realise that they’re not on their own; they’re not the only ones going through this experience, and by doing it together they might be able to achieve something,” Sarah explains.

Sarah intends to continue her innovative work after graduation and hopes to someday run a respite centre for vulnerable people of all ages.


Read the full story in UCC’s Independent Thinking magazine: 'Beekeeping makes life sweeter for Cork kids'

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