In Spring 2023, Creswick Primary’s nursery welcomed some new arrivals in class through the ‘Eggucation’ hatching experience.
The children were excited to arrive at school after the weekend to find seven very different looking eggs in a small incubator in the classroom. The awe and wonder as they tried to imagine what might be inside created an instant buzz in the classroom. We drew on the children’s prior knowledge about animals and life cycles to make predictions. The children made close observations in the coming days using a range of new scientific vocabulary to describe what they could see happening.
Our hatching experience
We were lucky enough to see 6 of the 7 eggs hatches, each chick a different colour and size! This was a wonderful opportunity to talk about similarities and differences.
As the chicks grew, the children were able to help clean and care for them, putting into practise their knowledge of what an animal needs to survive and opened discussions around where and how they would live as they grew and left us.
Participating in a hatching experience opened up so many opportunities to build upon skills in other areas as well: the children drew detailed pictures of what they observed; explored mark making when writing labels; developed independence skills as they cleaned, fed and watered the chicks; and developed their personal, social and emotional skills as they cared and handled the chicks.
This engaging experience offered many opportunities to develop the children’s understanding of the world and gave them foundational knowledge to support them in both Understanding the World in Reception and Animals, including Humans in Year 1.
Our reluctant writers were writing and drawing, and our quieter children were talking!
A learning opportunity for the whole school
Not only was the hatching experience great for understanding the world in Early Years but children from across the school visited the class and great links were made to science learning in many year groups. The opportunity to explore the different types of chicks we had hatched was a real-life opportunity for our Year 6 classes to explore inheritance; our Year 2 to experience life cycles in action and our Year 1 children to compare the baby chicks to their adult.
Things to consider
When we first discussed the idea of taking part in a hatching experience as a team, some of the staff were reluctant and worried about how ethical the process was. Therefore, we did some research and chose a company that prides themselves on being an ethical school hatching service.
- All eggs came from a rare breed as part of a conservation programme.
- All eggs and the chicks remained property of the company and were returned to their farm at the end of the process.
We shared this process with our parents, and it became a teaching point for the children, plus we had the pleasure of hatching some very unusual looking chicks and were very excited that one of our eggs was blue!
- We had to ensure there was a space for the chicks where the children could see them, but we also gave them the space and quiet they needed. We had them for two weeks and the chicks were taken home by a member of staff over the weekend, this was part of our agreement with the company.
- All resources (feed and bedding) were provided by the company but there was an expectation that we signed a contract to replace anything that might get damaged. The children were very respectful and listened carefully to rules and boundaries put in place to ensure the experience was successful for all involved.
In summary, it is definitely something we will be doing again! This experience not only enhanced our science curriculum but also allowed our children the opportunity to experience nature and see what they had been learning about in a real-life context.
For information on Health and safety related to hatching chicks, please see CLEAPSS guide P003 Incubating and hatching chicks.
Voices from the Classroom
Our new blog series, Voices from the Classroom, allows primary science teachers to share particularly effective practical experiences they have had with their classes. It’s a great way to showcase what your school is doing and written guidance and examples are available for those of you wishing to participate.
If this is something you would be interested in participating in, please e-mail Charlotte Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org