The children at Kool Kidz Preston went on an adventure with the help of the Myuna Farm Animal Nursery. They had the opportunity to interact with friendly farm animals like: chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, turtle, farm dog, rooster, geese and lambs. The children were able to look at the animals from a distance and for the more confident ones feed and cuddle them. We also had some parents and grandparents come and join in the fun.
Supporting children in their growing awareness and interest in animals can lead to deeper feelings of empathy in young children, more positive classroom relationships, and social-emotional development. As children have experiences with animals, they learn about differences and similarities, needs (such as for food, shelter, water and space), and compassion and empathy can grow and deepen.
How can you support children’s love for animals?
- Set up a bird feeding area outside your back yard or in another location where the children will be able to view the birds. (Note, many seed mixes contain peanuts, a common allergen.)
- Venture outside often! Even a trail of ants on a sidewalk can be exciting and special. If you do come across wildlife, allow the children to observe and share their discoveries. Encourage their questions and conversations.
- Encourage (but don’t force) quiet observation. Most of the animals you’ll likely encounter (insects, birds) are accustomed to humans, so often they won’t be too afraid of noisy, excited children. If children’s outbursts do frighten the animals away, just use that as an opportunity to make a scientific observation about the effects of noise on animals. As you know, it’s awfully hard for young children to stay silent when they are excited and surprised!
- Look and listen for evidence of animals every time you are outdoors. You may see tracks, nests, or other signs of animals. You may hear birds chattering in the cold winter morning. Allow the children at Kool Kidz Preston kindergarten and childcare to point out their observations and the “clues” that wildlife is everywhere.