This past December, the kindergartners and preschoolers at Clay Elementary became expert birders!
As December finally started getting chilly, we noticed that the bees and worms that just a month ago buzzed and wiggled around, were nowhere to be seen! However, after searching high and low we discovered many sparrows, chickadees, and cardinals still making the schoolyard their home.
To become expert birders, the first thing we did was investigate if the garden was a suitable home for birds. Along the way, we learned that “habitat” is a science word for home and that the seeds from the native plants in the nearby rain garden provided food for the birds. To help make a better habitat for our bird friends, the preschoolers and kindergarteners created bird feeders.
Then, the students used their science eyes and ears to observe birds. They mimicked different bird calls and flight. They loved practicing their flapping and soaring skills while looking for birds on the playground! The hardest part of birding for the kindergarteners and preschoolers was practicing the quiet, stealthy walk of a birder, to not scare the animals. We looked all over the garden and saw cardinals and sparrows in trees and flying high above the schools. To wrap up the month of birding, the preschoolers learned what make a bird a bird and created their own feathers. The kindergarteners noticed nests were a sign of birds, so they created their own nests to take home.
Birding was an engaging theme to get younger students outside and making observations when the garden is not particularly active With birds, the preschoolers were able to act as scientists, artists, and explorers. The students practiced making scientific questions, created avian inspired art, and kinesthetically mimicked the flight of birds. They were able to be imaginative and use their important sense of awe and wonder, while learning scientific skills along the way! The best part of birding is that it can be done anywhere, whether that’s the school garden or the urban backyard. The students took their birding skills home and practiced spotting birds throughout the winter break!
By Lucy Herleth, Gateway Greening Youth Educator