Ruth Brewer: Hey, Colton, what is that? (He looks at the chick without answering.)
Ms. Brewer: Colton, tell me about that baby. (pause) Where’d he come from?
Colton: He’s barkin’!
Ms. Brewer: He’s barkin’ (pause, and laughter from other adults). Where’d he come from? Where’d the baby come from?
Christien: He was flyin’ in the air.
Ms. Brewer: He will fly in the air, do you think?
Colton: I want—hold him (looks to an adult then reaches toward the chick).
Ms. Brewer: Where did that—Colton, no touching please.
Christien: He will bite you!
Ms. Brewer: Colton, where did that—Christien, where’d that baby chicken come from?
Christien: He (turns around and goes to a table behind him)—hatched (picks up eggshell, brings it forward). He hatched in his egg.
Ms. Brewer: He hatched out of his egg?
Ms. Brewer: He did? (Christien returns the egg to the table.)
This clip suggests some of the benefits of introducing very young children to live animals. The clip shows an event in a home child care program. The twin boys in the clip are 34 months old. Along with other children in their program, they have been investigating Canada geese that nest at a nearby park. Because the children cannot examine the goose eggs firsthand, the teacher has arranged to hatch chicken eggs in an incubator in the classroom. The children have observed the chicken eggs, candled them, and speculated about what might happen with them. Now some of the chicks have hatched, and the children are observing them for the first time. Several adults and other children are also present to view the chicks; their conversation can sometimes be heard during the clip.
As the clip begins, the two boys lean over the top of the bin containing the new chicks and look at them. When the teacher, Ruth Brewer, asks one of the boys to tell her “about that baby,” he says the chick is “barkin’.”
His attention is clearly engaged by the chick. He soon indicates that he wants to hold the chick. He reaches for it, but Ms. Brewer cautions him not to touch it. His brother explains that the chick “will bite you.” Possibly his comment indicates his theory about why they are not allowed to hold the chick. (In fact, Ms. Brewer wants to wait until the chick is older and stronger before allowing the children to handle it.)
After the teacher asks several times where the chick came from, one of the boys turns to a table behind him while explaining that “he” (the chick) “hatched.” He picks up an eggshell from the table and turns to face the camera, saying, “He hatched in his egg.” Although he initially seemed to have a theory that the chick had flown into the room, he seems to understand that in fact it hatched from one of the eggs.
Benchmarks & How They Were Met
1.B.ECa: Use language for a variety of purposes.
- Christien responded to the teacher’s questions. He also warned his brother that the chick “will bite you.”
11.A.ECa: Express wonder and curiosity about their world by asking questions, solving problems, and designing things.
- Colton’s rapt attention to the chick indicated his curiosity about it. His wish to hold the chick also suggested strong interest.
12.A.ECb: Show an awareness of changes that occur in oneself and the environment.
- Christien said that the chick “hatched from his egg,” indicating that he was aware of part of the life cycle of a chicken.
Videography by Ruth Brewer, director, The Children’s Garden, Westerville, Ohio.
About this resource
- Child Care Center
- Preschool Program
- Teachers / Service providers
Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
- Preschoolers (Age 3 Through Age 5)
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards: