Nature is at our doorstep. Though I do not have the facilities to bring the children on a nature walk, we are still able to observe nature and its wonders. Last week, we discovered this baby trush fell off the tree and of course, we had to try to rescue it. We placed it in a box and the chick drank from our eye dropper. The kids went looking for worms and screamed out of delight when it finally swallowed a whole wiggly worm!!! This was a great lesson on how to look after animals, what they need and where they get their food.
Unfortunately, our little bird didn't survive! Some of the children were a bit upset and asked quite a lot of questions such as "why didn't its mam come to help it? Where is it now? Why did it die because we gave it food?". I tried to answer all their questions as clearly as possible. When explaining to them what happened, I used the words "death," "dead," "dying" instead of euphanisms. These are all concrete words that children can wrap their brains around. Being clear is important I think because children's minds may extrapolate harmful connotations from sugar-coated explanations! I remember when myparent stold me years ago that my dog had to be put to sleep. When we got a new dog, I wouldn't let it go asleep at first because it was now my understanding that if I put him "to sleep", I wouldn't see it again!. This little chick in our garden was one of my teachable moment! Experiencing death and talking about it empower children to handle grief in the future. It also gives them a glimpse at a full life cycle.
On a more positive note, we now have 11 rabbits in our hutch and run!! A little bit overcrowded. The chidren have been witnessing the babies' growth and believe me, they are growing quick!! We are currently trying to find a home for every single one of them! They are soooo cute!!!
And of course, I have used this opportunity to present the children with another little exercise in our classroom: classifying animals. Pets or Wild animals? This turned out to be quite a popular activity. The chidren love looking at the photos and share their knowledge and preferences with their peers as they study each picture. This is great for their social and language skills!!!