Reception year pupils at Oriel Academy embarked on a springtime adventure recently when they took charge of five duck eggs!

The school on Hounslow Road is part of the Aspirations Academies Trust which places a strong emphasis on applied learning.
“Applied learning is perfect for Reception age children,” explains Reception teacher Kelly Liggitt. “In the past we’ve studied caterpillars but I thought hatching duck eggs would be a great chance to bring their learning about life cycles to life – quite literally!”

With the support of the team at Incredible Eggs, a leading provider of ethical hatching kits designed to engage children with nature, the children’s classroom became home to an incubator and later a brooder – a cage with a heater and warm bedding – on loan from the company.

“Of the five eggs in the incubator, two hatched successfully and it was magical,” says Kelly. “The children named them Ashy and Lily and really took them to their hearts. They watched them carefully and observed the changes. On the first day for example, the ducklings were very wobbly on their feet, but not very many days later they were leaping about on much more solid legs. The children took responsibility for looking after them, taking turns to feed them. They really enjoyed holding them and talking to them.”

Incredible Eggs provided educational resources and instructions when they delivered the kit along with a contact number for additional support:
“They made it really easy for us to enjoy the experience,” says Kelly. “For many of our pupils, it was the first time they’d interacted with a living creature; ducklings are very sweet natured so it was a great introduction for them.”

Five year old Alice agreed: “They were so soft and fluffy!”

The presence of the ducklings sparked a multitude of learning opportunities. The children explored the life cycle of ducks, from egg to adulthood, gaining insights into biology and animal behaviour, and the ducklings also inspired their artwork and storytelling activities. “But the lessons go beyond the classroom,” adds Kelly. “They learned the value of patience, responsibility, and empathy. We brought a little bit of nature into Reception.”

Two weeks later Ashy and Lily have found a new home with Breakfast Club Supervisor at the school, Tracey Ellis.
“The children did get quite attached, so they’re sad that Ashy and Lily have gone to their new home, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” says Kelly. “Nothing says Easter like a duckling!”

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