Part of their learning had been to research and identify the different animals that lived in the specific layers of the rainforest. To bring their learning to life we thought a hands on trip would help. The children were informed not to wear zips or buttons or anything sparkly as they would be meeting some curious feathered creature that like to nibble!
In two groups, Year 3 visited the tropical bird centre where they were given a short talk on bird behaviour to try and prepare them for what would happen next.
As the door opened, the children slowly and nervously walked out into the huge aviary, a large warehouse of a space filled with high tables, drinking troughs and branches. But it was the birds that were the real attraction.
Swooping and flapping their wings, parrots and cockatiels of various sizes and colours started to notice their small, suddenly quiet visitors. It was Noah from 3 Caterpillars who said that he was scared but didn’t want to leave. The birds perched on branches grew closer.
It was then that a very large Macaw took a liking to Mrs Alderton and flew straight onto her shoulder! As if it was a signal for the other birds, they started to fly around making themselves at home on the shoulders or heads of the children and even Mr. Holmes and Miss Katja!
In pairs, children were given cups of seeds and bird feed to give to the parrots. This seemed to wake up some of the more docile birds who were soon flapping and flying all around us. It was fantastic to see our children be so careful and respectful towards these magnificent birds, despite the imposing wings span and gnarly looking claws. Most of us braved it out for 10 minutes or so until we decided we had had enough excitement for the day and retreated to the safety of the viewing steps.
After we were all back on the bus and recovered, it was almost universally agreed that this trip had been a real mixture of joy, excitement and nerves but that trying new things and meeting these beautiful birds was well worth having a parrot sit on your head while it nibbled a pot of seed right next to your ear!
If meaningful trips are all about experiences we won’t forget, then this trip was a fantastic example of that and showed how bringing learning to life can push children to confront their fears and enjoy new things.
Year 3 Teacher