Captain Polo visits the SKAS Foundation Montessori school in Quito, Ecuador

by | Oct 16, 2019

Alan J. Hesse and Polo the Bear taking questions about climate change from engaged Montessori students

Today I had the honour of visiting the Montessori school in Quito, where Polo the Bear and I fielded questions and gave talks about climate change.

The older kids (middle year) impressed me with their knowledge of climate change terms and concepts. One student, who attends Model United Nations, wants to know what I thought might be the role of the UN in dealing with climate change. A very young student, in a later session, wanted to know if Polo the Bear likes pizza.

Alan J. Hesse and Polo the Bear with younger children at the Quito Montessori school.

The wide age range is no obstacle for kids to start understanding and talking about climate change. They are the future, and importantly, they can influence their parents.

The Quito Montessori school already has three teachers enrolled in the UN-accredited climate change online course for teachers offered through the eduCCateGlobal Project.

When prompted, Polo the Bear delivered his own message to the kids: learn as much as you can about climate change, and teach your parents!

At home, children can influence their parents to make small lifestyle changes that help to mitigate climate change. Things like switching to LED light bulbs. Walking or taking public transport more and driving less. Planting a tree or two. Even considering going solar.

Extract from Polo Bear comic
Page extract from the comic ‘The Adventures of Polo the Bear: a Story of Climate Change“, Alan J. Hesse, 2019.

Parents are the adults of today, and it’s today that change needs to happen. Education is vital of course, but the adults of today also need to make personal commitments now to how they can help reduce the overall carbon footprint.

Alan J. Hesse and Polo the Bear in Montessori school of Quito

The younger kids (primary), were thrilled with Polo, and this confirms what I knew already from having worked with Rare for so many years: there is nothing like a cuddly mascot to bring your message home. A well made (and well behaved) mascot can move crowds, and not just children.

Child's drawing of Polo
Montessori student’s picture of Polo demonstrating at the recent riots that convulsed all of Ecuador.

Polo the Bear is now an official superstar at the Quito Montessori School. The kids there even sent in drawings of Polo demonstrating at the recent street riots that affected Ecuador.

Tomorrow I meet with the teachers at the British School Quito, where no doubt Polo will be going next!

See you then!