Monday, February 23, 2009

The death of a chicken, elementary rock stars, and KITES!

Last week the Terra classroom lost a member. One of the chickens we keep died. This chicken became food for a roaming animal. I imagine a raccoon, possum, or cat. It happened over the long weekend and was cleaned up by the time the children returned. Despite this, they noticed within a day that the chicken was missing. This hen's name was grace to most of the children.

Needless to say, many of the children were upset and filled with emotion over the death of this animal. It was very interesting to see the different reactions the children had to this experience. I know that a handful of the children have had grandparents as well as family pets die. Maybe not so coincidentally, these were not the children that seemed very involved in the Grace's death.

There were several separate memorials that took place among the children. Since Grace became food and was cleaned up, there was no body to bury. The children wanted to know what had happened to her and to have something that they could have a ceremony with. I explained the reality of the situation to them. So because of this, many small offerings were made. A grave site was prepared, in and around which they buried and placed their offerings and items. These included stones, plants Grace liked, chicken feed, water, feathers (possibly actually Grace's). These were among others.

It was a good opportunity for our class to discuss the event of Grace's death, and as such speak to an aspect of life that we are too often shielded from. It gave us the opportunity to speak about the natural food chain and responsibility and gave the children an opportunity to create healthy ways of coping with these events. I have recently become much closer to death and dying, and the grief that can follow, because of this I felt it was eye-opening to see the way these children reacted to this situation.

caption: "Please do not touch this candle or the flame.
This is Grace's candle of new life.
note: keep your body 4 cm away from the candle"

"Candle of New Life"

The light of new life. Birth AND Death is new life.
The in and the out. Inhale and exhale...and the time between? That is the question.

Grave site of Grace and Ferdinand. (Ferdinand died last year)

However, these events pass quickly. later that week some children brought in some ELECTRIC instruments. Yeah!

Rock stars already. They are actually very talented, as well as many others in the class, with music.

And this weekend we flew kites!!!! Yay!!

These are all of my sister flying a stunt kite that I have had for years. Good day.

Thank you for looking everybody!

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