Equipped with homemade binoculars, one dollar each for provisions, and an infectious enthusiasm, Ms. Colby Howard and Mrs. Stacey Carroll’s 4 year-old VPK class set off on a bird-watching adventure that ended with a warm cookie at a local sandwich shop.
As students walked several blocks to the Handy Pantry for a sweet treat, God’s beauty was evident all around, and the children noticed all the small details of the sunny day. Teacher Mrs. Stacey led the group, pointing out different types of birds and encouraging students to use their eyes and ears to notice their environment. Students peered through their binoculars to spy birds perched on power lines, squirrels scurrying across the street, and nests balancing on branches high above. In addition to animals, the class spotted a hand-painted bird house, a cross, and even a U.S. flag, which led to a pause in the walk to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. As the children walked along, Ms. Colby peppered them with questions and helped them gather moss, sticks, and acorns so they could make their own nest in the classroom.
The teachers in this class believe in student-directed learning, and this year’s group of kids has been really interested in birds. “Last year our class created their own country, so when we took this field trip we were searching for things we might want to have in our country,” Mrs. Stacey explains. “This year’s class has been really interested in birds, so we’re focusing on birds and habitats.” Mrs. Stacey and Ms. Colby will continue their deep dive into science this Halloween when students create their own bird costumes in class and join the rest of the school for the Trinity Halloween parade, themed “All God’s Creatures.”
Nicole Gough was one of many parents who chaperoned the outing. “It was so great seeing how the children connected so many of the things they’ve learned in class: self-control, math, science, creative storytelling and an artistic imagination. A simple walk took on the feel of a great adventure!”
Although the teachers and children asked many thoughtful questions during the trip, perhaps the most thought-provoking question of the morning came from 4-year-old Wyatt. “If people bird watch, do you think that birds people watch?” Good question, Wyatt! Maybe your parents can answer that one.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every Creature and the breath of all mankind.”
– Job 12: 7-10
– Jenny Beyer
TLS Staff Writer (and TLS teacher, Trinity Member, & TLS mom)