Young children are receptive to whatever is taught to them. Their brain is like a sponge. It absorbs all the knowledge that is given. As teachers in preschool, we must try to give our preschoolers as much information as we can. We must make them aware of the world around them through different teaching methods. One important concept our preschool children must be taught is about birds.
Through this post, I will be discussing how to introduce preschool children to different categories of birds. There are birds we find in our backyard. Then we have the flightless birds. Brightly colored birds. Those that live in and around water. Those found on the farm, and the birds of prey. So let’s get our wings flapping.
Birds In Our Backyard
The birds that are in this category are the crow, sparrow, and pigeon. To teach children about these birds the teacher can arrange for a dollhouse. Place it in the class on artificial grass. Make cut-outs of the birds and put them on sticks. The teachers can tell a story to the children about a girl who lived in the house. One morning when she was playing in her backyard she saw a black colored bird perched on the garden wall. The birds made a cawing sound. (The teacher shows the crow puppet and plays the cawing sound using a CD in which real bird sounds have been recorded).
A while later when the little girl was playing with her friends she was a few small birds chirping and eating grains laid out for the birds. (The teacher shows the sparrow puppet and plays the sound of the sparrow.) Later that day when the girl was standing at her window a grey bird came flying and made a cooing sound. (The teacher shows the pigeon puppet and plays the pigeon sound).
Teaching them using this method enhances their auditory skills. The CD is used to play the sound of the birds therefore children need to be attentive to hear them.
Children usually associate birds with wings and them flying in the sky. Whereas in this category, we teach them about birds that do not fly. When introducing them to this category it is important to explain the meaning of flightless as it is a new word that we add to their vocabulary. The birds to be introduced under this category are emu, ostrich, and penguin.
For the lesson, the teacher can arrange for a cut out of the map of Australia. Make puppets of an emu and an ostrich and place them in front of the map. Take a styrofoam sheet. Cover it with cotton. Make some penguin puppets and place them on the styrofoam sheet. Make a hand puppet of a macaw.
The teacher tells the children a story about the proud macaw. He was proud because of his beautiful, colorful feathers. He flew to Australia and met 2 large birds. (The teacher points to the map of Australia). The macaw mocked the 2 birds as they could not fly. (The teacher shows the 2 birds and tells the children the names). The emu and the ostrich decide to teach the macaw a lesson. They ask him to join them in a race. The emu and the ostrich run very fast and win the race. The ostrich tells the macaw, “I may not be able to fly but I can run very fast. I’m also the largest bird”. The macaw learned his lesson and flew away.
He then went to the Antarctic and saw some penguins huddled together. (the teacher places the macaw puppet on the styrofoam sheet). He asked them why they don’t fly away as it is very cold there. The penguins explain that they are flightless birds so they cannot fly, but they all help each other to stay warm by staying close together. The macaw was very cold so he flew away.
The children learn many things through this activity. They learn about flightless birds and their characteristics. They also learn that everyone is unique in some way. Never to be proud and always help each other as the penguins helped each other. As an activity, the teacher can make the children do the penguin walk. Children are asked to keep their arms down. Palms faced upwards. Children are asked to walk without bending their knees.
Birds that can be taught to the children under this category are pelican, duck, and swan. Arrange a tub of water in the class and place plastic or toy birds in it. Put some toy fish in the water.
The teacher can explain about each bird to the children. Make them hear the sounds of the birds on a CD. Children should be told that birds that live in or around water are known as aquatic birds. The feet of some of the aquatic birds are called webbed feet which helps them swim in the water. Explain to children that the feathers of aquatic birds are coated with a waxy oil so that the water doesn’t damage their feathers. This can also be shown to the children by mixing oil in a bottle of water. After a while, the oil forms a layer on top. This will show that similarly, the oil on the bird’s feathers will protect the birds.
Under this category, the children are taught about the turkey, the hen, chicks, and the rooster. The teacher makes the children do a role play, where the children are asked to enact as these birds. Face masks of each of the birds are given to the children. The teacher lays out hay in the classroom to make it look like a farm. All the children wearing the hen and chicks mask are brought in front of the class. They are asked to make the sound of the hen. (cluck cluck). The teacher explains that chick is the young one of the hen.
The children wearing the rooster mask come up next and make the cock a doodle doo sound. The teacher explains that the rooster makes a sound and wakes up all other animals on the farm. The children wearing masks of the turkey make the gobble gobble sound of the turkey in front of the class.
Roleplay is a great way to encourage children to speak in front of an audience and to get over their shyness. Roleplay gives a boost to their confidence.
Birds of Prey
The teacher explains to the children that birds of prey are birds that eat other small animals. Birds under this category are eagles, kites, and vultures. Birds of prey have very strong and curved beaks to bite other small animals. They have sharp curved claws to catch their prey. While explaining this to the children the teacher can show a PowerPoint presentation of the birds with real sounds that the birds make.
As an activity, the teacher gives some children badges with pictures of birds of prey, while some children are given badges of small animals, for example, rabbit, rat, etc. make the children play a game where the birds try to catch the small animals.
Teaching children about birds is one way to make them aware of the world around them. The next time they look out of their windows they are sure to be curious and ask about the birds they see. Teaching new things to children broadens their imagination and their critical thinking abilities. No amount of information given to children is enough. Children have an insatiable amount of questions that we as teachers need to be prepared to answer.