Roast and Barbara (aka Betty) are names of the new chickens at Kew Kids! Bringing much joy, excitement and anticipation over the past few weeks, the chickens were brought into the centre via the Henny Penny Hatching Program which many of our centres use to help children learn about life cycles in a real world, hands on experience while encouraging social interaction and promoting caring and nurturing skills.
Over the past two months, the children at Kew have been eagerly watching the tiny creatures emerging from their eggs, drying out and becoming cute, fluffy chicks, ready to face the world. The antics of the new chicks have been watched and commented on with great enjoyment and will continue to be observed as they grow and start to lay eggs which won’t happen until they are about 17 weeks or so.
Joining the chickens is a Rooster called Wilfrid (he’s the white chicken) who will stay at Kew until he starts to cock-a-doodle-doo and then he will be taken to his new home.
For children, particularly in the pre-kinder and kinder rooms, their observations have become a major point of discussion and a series of shared, authentic experiences which has enhanced their learning in a number of key areas including language development (learning new vocabulary) numeracy (numbers, size) and science (growth and development).
To reinforce children’s understanding of the lifecycle of a chicken, they have been busy reading stories, singing and dancing, drawing pictures and doing different types of pastings with feathers and loose objects found in the environment. They’ve also been learning about different types of eggs (for example, ones you can eat and ones that contain baby chicks).
Learning about lifecycles in Early Childhood provide excellent opportunities for children to explore and inquire about the world around them, to understand the cycle of life and its recurrence in the world and to realise that this process isn’t simply exclusive to chickens but also to other animals and plants.
Educators are eager to see where this project takes them next and are expecting lots of excitement and questions when the chickens start to lay eggs in the coming weeks. Make sure to follow the journey of Roast and Barbara on the Kew Facebook page.