2019-2020 Home Education Sessions


Christmas Penguin Educational Experience for Home Educated Children

Recommended for ages 5 to 9
60 minute session from 2:00-3:00

Once again, we are running our Special Christmas Penguin Educational Experience for Home Educated Children. Sessions in 2019 will run on Thurs 14th Nov (spaces still available), Mon 18th Nov, Mon 2nd Dec (Session Full) and Wed 4th Dec (Session Full).

A festive elf will greet the group and needs help learning all about penguins. Participants will work together with a magic book to find out more about these fascinating animals. The entire group will then get the chance to observe real penguins up close before Father Christmas arrives to see how much you’ve all learned about one of his favourite winter animals! As you leave, Father Christmas will give each child a lovely penguin-y gift.

Due to the up close animal experience and the gift, there is a charge of £3 per child attending the session (this includes younger siblings attending).

This session will be identical to the Christmas Penguin Educational Experience that ran in Dec 2016, 2017, and 2018.

These session have very limited places which will be filled on a first come first served basis.

If you would like to attend this special Christmas Session, please email education@colchesterzoo.org (after 9am on Monday 14th Oct) to register with your child(ren)’s name and age and the parent/guardian’s full name (please note that this is a completely separate session and requires different registration than the usual free sessions for which registration is via the form found higher on this page). If you have any questions, email education@colchesterzoo.org

Please note, this session (as with all Home Education Sessions at Colchester Zoo) does not include entry to the zoo (see below for more details).


Free educational sessions for home educated children

These sessions are aimed at families who home educate. If you are a teacher at a school, please see our school page for more details (click here). Sessions are free to attend, but require pre-registration. Unregistered children will not be allowed to participate. Home education classes are designed to build on one another, and you can (if registered) attend all the age-appropriate sessions, or if you prefer, just register for one or two.

These sessions do not include entry to the zoo. Participants must arrange entry separately either by paying standard entry fees (click here for prices), organising themselves with 15 people to qualify for our group rates (click here for group details), or using zoo passes (click here for details)(recommended if you plan on attending more than one session) to gain entry to the zoo.


Session Topics 2019-20

Sessions will run on three days each month (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), the sessions offered are identical on each day. Each day will have a session aimed at 5-7 year olds, 7-11 year olds, and 11-16 year olds.

5-7 year old sessions take place at 1:00-1:45 pm
(ALL Sessions Full; Waiting lists are available)

7-11 year old sessions take place at 2:00-2:45 pm
(ALL Sessions Full; Waiting lists are available)

11-16 year old sessions take place at 3:00-4:00 pm

Click below to download a PDF of all the session topics, and a description of what will be covered for each age group.


Session Dates for 2018-19:

  • September – Mon 9th, Tues 10th, & Wed 11th
  • October – Mon 7th, Tues 8th, & Wed 9th
  • November – Mon 4th, Tues 5th, & Wed 6th
  • December – Mon 16th, Tues 17th, & Wed 18th **
  • January – Mon 6th, Tues 7th, & Wed 8th
  • February – Mon 3rd, Tues 4th, & Wed 5th
  • March – Mon 2nd, Tues 3rd, & Wed 4th
  • April – Mon 20th, Tues 21st, & Wed 22nd
  • May – Mon 18th, Tues 19th, & Wed 20th

**In December 2019, we will once again be running a special Home Education Session of our Christmas Penguin Educational Experience. This is in addition to the regularly scheduled sessions and will be on a completely separate date. More details about this, and registration will be online on this page in early Oct 2019.


Session Registration

Participants must be registered a minimum of 2 days prior to the class. Please fill in the following registration form and send via email to education@colchesterzoo.org to register for the sessions. After your booking form has been received by our education team, you will be sent a confirmation email to the email address you provided confirming your registration for the sessions.


Terms and Conditions:

Age to Attend Sessions: The sessions are divided into different age groups because this lets us tailor the session to include terminology and activities which are better suited to different age ranges. However, the ages we provide are just guidelines of where we will be targeting the information/activities, not firm requirements. To ensure the smooth running of the session, and for the benefit of all participants, we request younger/older children do not attend if they would be disruptive to the rest of the group.

Adult Supervision: All children attending sessions must be accompanied by an adult.

Minimum Class Size: Colchester Zoo reserves the right to cancel a class, no less than 4 days prior to the first class of the month, if registration is under five participants. In this event, you will be notified via the email you provided when you registered. You will also be given the option to attend the other date the same session is offered (e.g. if the Monday session is cancelled you would be offered a space in the Wednesday class if you so wish).

Maximum Class Size: Classes have a maximum of 25 participants. If a class is full, you will be put on a waiting list and contacted if there are any cancellations. Being on the wait list does not guarantee you will be able to attend the session.

Unattended Sessions: If you are unable to attend a session, please inform Colchester Zoo via email (education@colchesterzoo.org) as soon as possible. This will allow them to contact someone on the waiting list to let them attend. If you repeatedly do not attend sessions you are registered for, without letting the zoo know, you may be removed from future sessions.

Please note – Home Education sessions are free of charge. However, Registration for sessions does not include entry to the zoo. Participants must arrange entry to the zoo separately; either paying entrance price, organising themselves independently into a group of 15 (to qualify for group rates), or using zoo passes (gold cards) (see above for further details).

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