Contributors

Chickens, Preschoolers, and Some Mud

Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by LaurenJoan

Picture of a child's muddy feet
Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day
Little Arthur wants to play.
 

Little Arthur wants to play in the mud after the rain because Little Arthur knows, like any good scientist, that there's lots to learn out in the messy world of mud and bugs and grass! Just take it from the Mother of 5 Little Chickens:

Said the first little chicken with a queer little squirm,
“Oh, I wish I could find a fat little worm!”

Said the second little chicken with an odd little shrug,
“Oh, I wish I could find a fat little bug!”

Said the third little chicken with a little sigh of grief,
“Oh, I wish I could find a green little leaf!”

Said the fourth little chicken with a sharp little squeal,
“Oh, I wish I could find some nice yellow meal!”

Said the fifth little chicken with a faint little moan,
“Oh, I wish I could find a wee gravel stone!”

“Now see here!” said their mother from the green garden patch,
“If you want any breakfast, you just come here and scratch!” 

Picture of a hen lying in the grass

Mother Hen knows the value of scratching and digging in the mud. And so do preschoolers - they're not getting into things and getting dirty from mud pies - they are learning:

"The main thing is that they're drawing conclusions from data and evidence and experiences the same way scientists are - by making hypotheses, testing them, analyzing statistics and even doing experiments, even though when they do experiments, it's called 'getting into everything,' " said Alison Gopnik, a UC Berkeley psychology professor who is known for her work in the areas of cognitive and language development, specializing in the effect of language on thought, the development of a theory of mind, and causal learning. (Read more at: Preschoolers at play show science skills, San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, November 26, 2012.)

 Picture of a child playing mudpies

Mother Hen knows what she squawks about - here's what the experts are crowing:

“Contrary to what one may hear from the industry, chickens are not mindless, simple automata but are complex behaviorally, do quite well in learning, show a rich social organization, and have a diverse repertoire of calls. Anyone who has kept barnyard chickens also recognizes their significant differences in personality.”  Dr. Bernard Rollin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, Farm Animal Welfare: School, Bioethical, and Research Issues (Iowa State University Press, 1995, p. 118).

“[I]t is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates.” Rogers LJ, The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken (Wallingford, Oxon, U.K.: CABI Publishing, 1995, p. 217).

Listen to Mother Hen - try a  little mud science today!  Here's some good stories to go with that advice:

Mud Stories and More...
Mud Is Cake
Mud Is Cake
Mud
Mud
Five Little Chicks
Five Little Chicks
Stuck in the Mud
Stuck in the Mud
Welcome to your Child's Brain
Welcome to your Child's Brain
Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids
Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids

 
 


 

 

 

Max & Ruby

 

 


 

Tagged: David Walsh, Jane Clarke, Mary Lyn Ray, Nancy Tafuri, Pam Munoz Ryan, Sandra Aamodt, Kids Blog, Milpitas News, child development, play, preschoolers

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