Slugs, morality and dead baby birds (in that order)
Whilst this was not the ‘planned topic’ for this weeks’ outdoor adventure it is the ‘topic’ that children chose and the one that we adults had to follow.
Once again our forest-school-type experience led to the discovery and fascination of all things that slither and the discovery that slugs are indeed thriving! Oh, the things a three year old can ask about a slug! ‘’is that a mummy or daddy slug?’ ‘Why is that one black not brown?’ ‘Is’ that the baby one?’ ‘Well, where is the mummy then?’ ‘Is that one dead?’ ‘Well what’s that green bit squidging out of it?’ ‘Do slugs go to heaven?’ ‘Is there a slug hospital?’
So after 20 minutes of slug stopping and talking I suggested that perhaps, when we see a slug we should greet him/her with a cheery, ‘Good morning Mr Slug’ then move on. This worked very well although of course children also had to stop and wave and then we had to ask, ‘can slugs hear me or can they only hear slug words?’
So, after slugs-ville we stop for our snack with water. One little one asks me, ‘is that your drinking bottle Mrs Smalley?’ ‘No, I borrowed it’ I explain. ‘Oh, whose bottle is it?’ I explained that the bottle belonged to someone who was not in today but it would be washed when I had finished it. ‘Oh, did you ask if you could borrow it?’ Shifting uncomfortably I reply, ‘well no I didn’t’ The three year old thinks about this and then says, ‘That’s not good behaviour’
On the return to the Prepatoria we were stopped in our tracks by the sight of a tiny little broken egg on the pavement. We gathered around and realised that the egg contained a tiny dead bird. The group grew silent as I carefully picked the egg up and showed it to the children. Each child held out their hand and held the fragile little egg. It was evident that children understood the significance of this by their body language and hushed tones. We talked quietly about the little chick and how the egg fell from the tree and children remembered the ‘living eggs’ we had had at the Prepatoria at Easter and how we had to keep the eggs safe and warm so that the chicks could hatch. We brought the egg back with us to allow further opportunities for investigation