My favorite day of the entire week is Saturday. There’s no stress, no morning rush and of course no traffic jams. On a regular Saturday, my four-year-old son and I have a nice wholesome breakfast and then do some gardening followed by some little chores giving him a chance to help out around the house.
But this weekend was a bit different, Sam and I were invited to his preschool field trip just like all the other students of the class accompanied by their parents. Their class teacher Ms. Hudson took the children to the bird sanctuary and, to me that sounded like a not-a-smart idea. I was worried that the little preschoolers will either:
- Have no interest in the subject
- Will get over excited about the subject
- Or will get scared of the birds
However, I was wrong on all three accounts. As I heard the teachers explain how educational bird watching can be, it piqued my interest. I kept observing how Sam and the other children interacted with the birds. Sam got fascinated by his new feathery friends.
Before the trip, I asked my son’s preschool teacher “Why do bird watching at all, especially at preschool level?”
She answered – “Nowadays, our lives have become chaotic not only for parents but for children too, therefore it is the need of the hour to give children an opportunity to decelerate, be calm and observe the true beauty of nature. Bird watching is a great activity to encourage the same. Early learners being innately curious are particularly enthralled by watching birds and their living environment.”
After we had got back from the bird watching trip, my views about the relevance and need of bird watching in preschool setting had changed completely. I realized that there is so much that nature offers us, and we should all instill the love for nature in our children at an early age.
Here are a few things that young learners can discover during bird watching:
Educational values – Nature has a lot to offer to us. One of the most important gifts that nature can give us is education. Early learners can learn a lot of things merely by observing their natural surroundings.
“During the bird watching field trip the little learners got to see different species including, pigeon, crow, kingfisher, sparrow, tailorbird, magpie robin, dove, sunbird, goldfinch and the mockingbird. It’s was remarkable to see how a child grasps the features of each bird and how they notice the peculiarities of different species.
They learn what each season offers to birds and how the birds change themselves or travel to cope with the changes. They learn about how we can share our habitat with birds in a peaceful manner.
Overall development – The best play schools and best preschools setup bird nests or feeding nests where birds can come to eat. This helps children learn how to feed birds and how to treat them gentle care. Teachers can also teach children to make a little feeder for each bird. Teachers often give children the chance to count the number of birds that come to their feeders. This helps them with their cognitive skills, communication skills and with their mathematical skills.
Birding manners – Bird watching helps children notice the vulnerability of each bird. They notice how delicate a bird’s nest is and how hard the birds strive to protect their eggs. Bird watching helps children learn good birding manners such as –
- Do not shake trees
- Do not take eggs
- Do not wreck nests
- Walk slowly so as not to scare the birds and so on
This teaches young learners to be gentler with nature and the animals around them.
Teachers often have bird charts in the classroom so that children can learn to differentiate one bird from another giving a huge development to their ability to recognize a particular bird.
In a few words:
We have a beautiful world outside the four walls of a classroom. The best preschools abide by preschool accreditation standards and their preschool development programs including activities like – Forest trips, bird watching, and other outdoor activities, these help children to appreciate and learn the values of nature. Children begin to realize that as they depend on their parents, teachers, and friends, similarly animals and birds also depend on one another directly or indirectly. Bird watching can instill a love for nature and can also help preschool freechildren to evolve into responsible and caring citizens.