Lobethal Kindergarten Outdoor Environment…Sustainability – chooks, ducks and worms

Although the children believe that the teachers are the permanent residents at kindy and we all have beds somewhere in a secret room that is only known to us, the real permanent residents are of the feathered and slimey kind.

Lobethal kindy has supported a chook house for as long as I can remember and a couple of years ago we raised enough money to create a new home for our girls.

We have three chooks –

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The big old white chook is Henny Penny

The two youngsters are Dotty and Rosie who are kept inline by our dear Henny Penny. Dotty and Rosie are the result of an incubator experiment at kindy and have been well loved and reared by the children who have come and gone over the years.

But the children’s favourite is our gorgeous Daisy Duck, who is very attached to Henny Penny and tries to follow her around the kindy yard. We are often amused by Daisy trying to keep up with Henny Penny as she wadles along with a limp, which slows her down and she lets her frustrations know by quacking very loudly at Henny Penny in disgust at her being left behind. Daisy was also hatched at kindy (about 3 years ago) when we borrowed a couple of ducks from a kindy family. The children watched the ducks creating their nest and gather up the eggs. After a long 23 days a trio of ducks were born.  The children chose to keep Daisy and we have loved her ever since.

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One of the most exciting experiences we have shared with Daisy was when she deceided she wanted to become a Mum. After sourcing some fertile eggs from a local family and carefully placing them in Daisy’s beautifully made nest, the count down began. We all watched in amazement as Daisy moved her nest a number of times, each nest as perfect as the one before. She finally settled on a spot right on the edge of the cage in full view of the children as if she knew that she was sharing something very special with her extended family.

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Staff often reflect on the spring of 2010 as a very memorable time and Daisy provided us with so much joy as she waited patiently to become a mother. One of our children, Isaac was a very quiet, deep thinking young man  who introduced us to the “Thinking Tree”, which is a bottle brush with the perfect branch to lean on and observe the entire garden and all the goings on throughout the day. We never knew what Isaac was thinking but he told us he was perfectly happy watching everyone go about their day. When we purchased our new toy, “the flip camera”, we gave it to Isaac and told him to film what ever he wanted. We watched him move around the garden and spend a long time with Daisy. When the day had ended and the coffee was poured we sat to watch the children’s filming and what we saw and heard was heart warming. Isaac had a conversation with Daisy that was truly special. “Hi Daisy, whatcha doing? Have you got some eggs have you? Are you going to have some babies Daisy?” whispered Isaac. And on queue, as if answering, Daisy would quack back to Isaac. The connection between them was amazing to witness and he was the first one every morning to visit and have a quiet chat with his friend until her babies were born. What a joy to watch. Don’t ever under estimate a child’s connection with animals and nature.

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Ducks certainly have their own unique personality and Daisy is one in a million. The children are regularly entertained by her antics after her pond has been filled. As they watch and wait for her to enter her clean pond she seems to tease them until she has a big enough audience, then without warning she splashes around until they are all wet and laughing and we are sure she is laughing too!

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Our children love to care for the “Girls”…

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They help to feed and water them.

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Feed them the food scraps we have from lunch, fruit time and cooking.

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We even have a spinach patch grown especially for the children to use to hand feed the girls, and they love it!

Collecting the eggs is always very popular and the collectors regularly take home the eggs to share with their siblings. Recently during our outdoor kindy week one of the children asked if she could collect the eggs and cook them on the campfire. Absolutely we could, and we showed her how to make eggs in a hole on the cooking plate. She cut them into fours and shared them around the kindy with all the very busy children. A very popular dish indeed.

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The girls love to roam the garden during the day and the children have learned to respect their space and their safe place (the chook house). Keeping them out of the veggie patch is always a challenge and much to their disgust they are kept locked up during the early growing stages, this is something we are working on fixing with a small fence.

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Henny Penny is very fond of the children at Lobethal Kindy and loves to stop for a pat as she wanders around the garden. We are currently encouraging the lovely Dotty and Rosie to be handled more by the children and Dotty in particular seems to be lapping it up.

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No sustainable garden would be complete without wriggly, slimey worms and our garden has an abundance of them. Our worm farm has been an important addition to our kindy and we have a seperate bin at fruit time to place suitable scraps for the worms to munch on. They produce the most yummiest brown juice which is used on our veggies and fruit producing plants in the garden, when we have some spare the rest of the garden gets a worm juice treat. When spring comes the children will help us to find a new drier spot for the ever increasing worm family home and the veggies will reap the rewards. Our children have a strong connection with worms and bugs, the lid is often seen ajar which tells us they have had a visit from our curious children. We had to laugh at the end of last term as we did our pre holiday check of the garden. Whilst replacing the slightly ajar lid something caught our eye, one of our children had placed his favourite dinosaur book in the worm farm. Either, he was hiding it from his peers ready for next term or it was some important reading material for the worms in the holidays. Which ever it was, we all had the same huge smile thinking about the thought process of this child. And of course we all had the same idea “we have book worms at our kindy”.

 

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Lobethal Kindy’s garden is lucky enough to have wonderful rich soil to grow our produce and plants. It is also full of the slimiest, wiggliest worms ever. Worms are often dug up from the garden especially inbetween growing seasons in the veggie garden when the children can dig as much as they like to turn over the soil. The garden is filled with the joyous sounds and squells as they find worm after worm. (you would think they had found the first ever worm in the world) many of them asking for containers to take home their new wriggly friends. Most parents would expect to pick up their child at the end of the day and take home paintings and makings, but our children are happier taking home worms and bugs. They do know however, that we need most of the worms in the garden soil to help our soil stay healthy and rich ready for our plants to grow. Lucky we have plenty. And we don’t mind sharing with other gardens in the community.

 

 

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Respect for the environment and nature is important learning for all children and we know that when our children leave us they will take with them this respect and knowledge. They will use this knowledge throughout their school years and beyond into adulthood. They will know that animals can give love and joy, but they also need to be cared for and respected. They will know that sustainability is the key to a health environment. We will continue to build on our sustainable kindy environment, as we are also learning along the way and we too are enjoying our learning. We are not the permanent residents of Lobethal Kindy, we are only loaning and caring for it from the future children who will come and go.

PS.

Through our chooks and Daisy duck our children have learned about the circle of life. Whilst writing this post, our dear old Majestic Henny Penny passed away. The children observed her resting in her nest with Daisy by her side. She slipped away peacefully with the sounds of children’s laughter and playing around her. This brought about many meaningful conversations about life and death. Kindy children are so curious and resilient that they constantly teach us that it is okay, “Henny Penny has gone to lay eggs in heaven and is having a lovely time with many grandparents and great grandparents”.

Thanks Henny Penny for all that you brought to our kindy children over the past 5 years.

Daisy is now the new boss of “Cluckingham Palace”.

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Written by Janice.

Outcome 2 – Children are connected with and contribute to their world

Principle 1- Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation.

Principle 2- Children respond to diversity with respect

Principle 3 – Children become aware of fairness

Principle 4 – Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 3 : Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

Principle 1– Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing

Principle 2– Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing

Outcome 4 – Children are confident and involved learners

Principle 1– Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination, and reflexivity.

Principle 2– Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesizing, researching, and investigation.

Principle 3– Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one contest to another

Principle 4– Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies, and natural and processed materials.

 

4 Comments

  • Emma

    RIP Henny Penny

  • Emma

    RIP Henny Penny

  • Karren Sandercock

    We had the chance to look after the girls during the summer holidays in 2011 and Daisy was our family’s favorite. Filling up her pond with the hose was fun, Rylie loved the fresh water as much as Daisy, and RIP Henny Penny.

  • Karren Sandercock

    We had the chance to look after the girls during the summer holidays in 2011 and Daisy was our family’s favorite. Filling up her pond with the hose was fun, Rylie loved the fresh water as much as Daisy, and RIP Henny Penny.