Chicken School Students

St Marys Catholic Primary School Swindon

“This whole experience brought the whole school community together the children, staff and parents. The chicks were also the first topic of conversation for all concerned. They enriched the whole school curriculum. It was possible for the chicks to go on tour to different classrooms and were the inspiration for R.E. Literacy, Science, PSHE, Knowledge and Understanding of the World. As far as I’m concerned the whole experience from the eggs in the incubator to the hatching of the chicks to watching them develop and grow in the coming days was awe inspiring, plus it was excellent value for money.”

Clare-Marie Burchall, Headteacher

Orchid Vale Primary School, Swindon

“This year will be the third year that we have had the chicks in our nursery class. We can hardly wait for their arrival! It is a particularly exciting time for everybody in school; the nursery is always a popular place to be at this time of year with children from all classes popping in to visit us!

In the nursery we talk to the children about what they think might be in the egg; then when the eggs actually begin to crack and hatch the children can hardly contain their excitement! Facial expressions are wonderful!

Usually Val brings in different egg varieties which make it easier to identify each chick after it has hatched. The children choose names and then take great pleasure in dragging in parents to show off ‘their’ chicks. We keep the chicks in our classroom for 3 weeks so the children really do see how we care for them and how they change. We watch the chicks grow bigger and see their wings develop. The children are able to hold the chicks at different stages of their development and look after them.

It truly is a fantastic experience!”

Genevieve Painter, Nursery Teacher at Orchid Vale Primary School

Lainsmead Primary School, Swindon

As this was our first experience of Chicken School, the whole school was buzzing awaiting the arrival of the incubator. Over the next few days lots of staff members, parents and pupils kept popping into the classroom to see what was happening in the incubator. It was Wednesday afternoon when the first chick hatched, followed quickly by another, which was witnessed by the children. The first chick was brown, which surprised the children as they thought that all chicks were yellow. By the next morning there were more chicks and the last one hatched early on Friday morning. The children then came up with the conclusion that the brown chick was a boy (because he was brown) and all the others were girls. Over the next week we had several handling sessions where, if they wanted to, the children could hold a chick in their hands. It was an amazing experience, thoroughly enjoyed by the whole school, so much so we are repeating the experience next year March 2011.

Lorraine Walker, Teaching Assistant/Eco Schools Coordinator at Lainsmead Primary School

Westlea Primary School Swindon

“We decided to use Chicken School for our ‘chick experience’ as they were a local company.
What a good decision that was. Val and her husband arrived at school on the first day and our amazing experience began. The incubator was situated in the reception classroom, but by playtime, word had spread about the arrival of the eggs and half the school descended upon us. From that moment on, the whole school were involved in the hatching process. A webcam allowed all classes to view the eggs and as soon as the first crack appeared the school watched the chicks in amazement. The children gained so much from the three weeks in which the chicks stayed with us. It was the talking point at playtime, lunchtime and home time. Parents and children from across the school came to watch the chicks. Was it an educational, enjoyable experience? You bet. Will we be having them next year? You bet. The only problem now is deciding which classroom they will go into!”

Anita Ellis, Reception Unit Westlea Primary School

St Dunstans Primary School, Calne

“It is quite unusual to find an activity which can unite children from Nursery to Year 6, but ‘Chicken School’ have found that magical combination. Via the web the hatching eggs was accessed by every class. As soon as the first cracks began to appear, the whole school was fixated, as all the children willed the little chick from its egg. A huge cheer echoed from Nursery to Year 6, as one last push saw the little creature hatch into the incubator. Parents queued alongside their children to see the new arrivals in the school. Staff and children have all said that without doubt this was the best activity in book week and that it has provided memories that they will never forget. With the support and expertise of ‘Chicken School’ a click or a phone call way then the whole process is hassle free too! I cannot recommend this more highly!!”

Philip Northwood, Special Needs Teacher/Book Week coordinator

Nythe Primary School Swindon

“Val brought us 10 eggs to hatch in June. We decided that Year 6 should look after them in their classroom. Val was extremely helpful in explaining what would happen step by step. She was always there at the end of the phone for advice and would come into school often, to support us. Some pupils in Year 6 did extra Science lessons which revolved around the eggs/chicks in their lunchtimes. This enabled us to get the most out of our visitors. Great excitement buzzed around the school when the eggs hatched. A webcam was set up to record the births. All of our pupils had several opportunities to view the chicks and Val came in to work with pupils to enable them to learn even more about our 8 chicks, close up. Parents were also enthused about our chirping visitors and we soon had plenty of offers of hospitality for our chickens at the weekend. Excitement filled our school whilst we had the chicks to stay; chatter of the chicks’ presence, filled the playground and the staffroom! We were able to support the curriculum in Science, PHSE, Literacy and our Eco school ethos.”

Mrs Colleen Smith, Parent Coordinator

Even Swindon Primary School

We decided to use ‘Chicken School’ to provide us with our chick experience as they were a local company; from the onset Val was very accommodating and approachable. Val arrived on a Monday morning to set up the incubator and from that point the children were completely absorbed in the whole experience.

Word soon spread of the arrival of our eggs so classes from across the school and staff members’ descended upon our classrooms to join in with the experience. We all awaited the first signs of hatching and were delighted to observe the whole process from egg to (incredibly cute!) chick. A web cam was set up to capture the births and the whole school was a buzz of excitement over our new arrivals.

The children have learnt so much through having the chicks in their classroom. They have produced high quality work as a result and had such an enjoyable time. They have been completely inspired, and the parents have commented on what a valuable experience this has been. As I write this I am saddened of their imminent departure but am rest assured by the knowledge that they will become happy chickens…and I will always have fantastic memories.

Rob Hicks, Year 1 Teacher

East Wichel Community Primary School, Swindon

The children were so excited about eggs coming to school. Even before the eggs began to hatch we had so much value from them as the children pretended to be doing talks to each other about the eggs, set up a cinema style area to watch them and drew pictures of what might emerge from the eggs. The eggs were in our reception classroom and soon began to influence all aspects of the EYFS curriculum. One of the most amazing things was watching our most reluctant writers beging to create labels, captions, lists and write short stories all linked to the eggs and the chicks. When our two weeks were over and every chick had been named it was great to be able to tell the children that the chicks were going back to the farm where they had come from. Val was fantastic especially the initial chat she did with the children. She answered all their questions really well and the children didn’t want her to leave. As soon as they had gone we booked up for next year and I know that all the children in our school will be really excited the day the eggs arrive.

Clare Hodges, Deputy Headteacher

Village Activity Facilitator (St Oswald’s Retirement Village)

St. Oswald’s residents are looking forward to next Easter already. Why? Well, this year for the first time they enjoyed being able to watch eggs being hatched and the young chicks running round in their early days.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Located in the Resident’s Lounge the Chicken School, a local business, installed professional equipment for the eggs to hatch and then a separate area for them to live as well as correct food for them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Chloe Robbins, the Village Facilities Organiser, thought the chooks would be a nice attraction for the many young visitors who come to visit grandparents during the Easter holiday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     But surprise, surprise, many of the residents were glued to the hatchery, awaiting the great day when the first chicken hatched out and then over the next week whilst the remaining eggs hatched. It was a great attraction to many of the less mobile residents who could enjoy watching the activities. Residents and staff  alike were sad to say goodbye to the chicks when  they returned to the Chicken School. “It went down so well that we shall definitely try and put it on again next Easter”

Chloe Robbins, the Village Facilities Organiser

Abbey Meads Community Primary School

The children found it of huge benefit having chicks in class. It had great educational advantages as well as social gain for some children. Seeing them arrive as eggs, listening to the educational talk, watching the hatching process and seeing them grow day by day. They learned about caring for animals, being responsible for another life, how animals grow and change over time. Children throughout the school would visit the chicks during and after the school day and there was no end of offers of children to ‘chick sit’ at lunchtime. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and we will be doing this again.

Helen Vaughan Y1 Teacher

Five Lanes CE VC School

We had the chicks in our Y1/2 class in Term 4. From the outset, the children were very excited and couldn’t wait to get in the classroom to see what was happening every morning. As soon as the chicks began to hatch, the children were learning so much. The children did name them! As far as curriculum goes, we used this resource for many elements: chick diaries – in literacy, life cycle – in science and in data collection – in maths.  This experience was particularly valuable for those children who have no pets. I would recommend this resource for this age group, particularly if life-cycles or living topics are planned.

J C Furniss Class Teacher

Carltonvale Infants School

Hope the chicks were delivered to the farm safely and that they’re settling in well -we are missing them terribly. The experience was brilliant -for adults and children alike. From the day the eggs arrived there was a steady stream of admirers pouring through the classroom. The night before the first chicks hatched I couldn’t sleep wondering what was going to happen-a bit like Christmas eve! When I arrived on Wednesday morning the first 2 Legbars had arrived! Hurrah! 3 more chicks hatched during the day and the children were able to watch (we did video the event) seeing the children’s’ faces was a delight! The following morning was even more amazing as 5 more chicks hatched. We won’t forget our little chicks especially the little partridge Pekin who was so calm and sweet. Thank you for everything and we most definitely will do this again.

Janis Phillipson Class Teacher