Thomas, who is in fact a soft toy, will be visiting the classrooms of 10 Goodstart Early Learning centres to help increase awareness about the plight of the endangered Tasmania Devil, and to inspire children’s learning about Australian wildlife and geography.
Early childhood educator Jenny Apps said children were getting excited for Thomas’ upcoming adventure.
“Our Tasmanian devil project began a while ago when we were teaching children about Australia’s indigenous culture. This led us to start reading Dreamtime stories, many of which included native Australian animals,” Ms Apps said.
“When we came across a picture of a Tasmanian devil, I was really surprised children didn’t know what animal it was. They thought it was a wombat, or a possum or some children even suggested it might be a large rat,” she said.
“We decided to educate children about our beloved Tasmanian devil and other Australian animals. As part of our project, we decided to reach out to the community to get them involved in helping us to create the best possible educational outcomes for children, and to make it fun in the process. Children have enjoyed a trip to the zoo and we’ve had special guests come to the centre to talk about Tasmania devils.
“Goodstart has even adopted two Tasmanian devils – Luna and Storm, through the Devils in Danger Foundation.
“It has been amazing to see how children have inspired their own learning. It is quite remarkable how their curiosity has continued to grow and now they are even starting to learn more about our other states and territories, and how people can travel to Tasmania from other parts of Australia.
“In his adventures, Thomas will visit Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria, and the Northern Territory where he will be warmly welcomed by pre-kindergarten children and educators as part our mission to spread the word about this unique animal.”
Thomas will visit Goodstart Paralowie and Goodstart Blakeview in SA, Goodstart Edgewater in WA, Goodstart Nightcliff in NT, Goodstart Andergrove in Qld, Goodstart Bondi Junction – Oxford Street North in NSW, and Goodstart Frankston and Goodstart Preston in Vic.