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Sheringham pupils go ‘quackers’ for outdoor learning

PUBLISHED: 15:59 28 November 2017

Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Lisa Heir with Sheldon the duck, who, with her best friend Lenny the chicken, travels to school and back every day in a pushchair. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Lisa Heir with Sheldon the duck, who, with her best friend Lenny the chicken, travels to school and back every day in a pushchair. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

Children at Sheringham Primary School have a rather unusual pair of ‘classroom assistants’ helping with outdoor learning activities – in the shape of a duck called Sheldon and her best pal Lenny the chicken.

Sheringham Primary School pupils Daniel and Charlotte with Lenny the chicken and Sheldon the duck. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Sheringham Primary School pupils Daniel and Charlotte with Lenny the chicken and Sheldon the duck. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The feathered friends, who were hatched from eggs by teaching assistant Lisa Heir, have become mascots at the school, joining in circle time in the classroom, helping with gardening and pond-dipping sessions and taking part in Forest Schools activities.

Ms Heir, who brings Sheldon and Lenny to school every morning in a pushchair designed for dogs, said the pair, who were named after characters from the hit American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, were devoted to each other.

Six-year-old Sheringham Primary School pupil Daniel with Lenny the chicken. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Six-year-old Sheringham Primary School pupil Daniel with Lenny the chicken. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

They are “part of the family” at home, she added, with Sheldon chasing Fred the German shepherd around the garden, snuggling up in Ms Heir’s bed, and even going round to the next-door-neighbour’s house for her favourite meal of peas.

However, like some children, Lenny is occasionally reluctant to go to school and it can take a while to coax her into the pushchair.

Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Lisa Heir introduces Lenny the chicken and Sheldon the duck to six-year-old pupils Daniel and Rex. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Lisa Heir introduces Lenny the chicken and Sheldon the duck to six-year-old pupils Daniel and Rex. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheldon, on the other hand, can’t wait to see her primary school pals.

“She’s so excited, she just quacks all the way there.” Ms Heir said. “Ducks are actually really clever and she knows exactly where she’s going.”

Six-year-old Elijah with woodland artwork he made at a Forest Schools sessions. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Six-year-old Elijah with woodland artwork he made at a Forest Schools sessions. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Alison Sheridan, who looks after the school garden and runs Forest School sessions, said having Lenny and Sheldon around had been a real bonus for youngsters.

“Forest School sessions are all about giving those children who need a bit of a confidence boost a chance to come outside, build self-esteem, find new friends and learn about nature, and them being here does help,” she explained.

Sheringham Primary School pupils Rex and Charlotte with a swing they made during a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Sheringham Primary School pupils Rex and Charlotte with a swing they made during a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

“We have found that children who were worried about handling Lenny and Sheldon have really overcome their fears.”

Forest School sessions, which include activities ranging from creating woodland arts and crafts, to building dens and camp fires, are run all year round, with groups of 12 children at a time taking part.

Finn, 6, having fun in the mud kitchen during a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Finn, 6, having fun in the mud kitchen during a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

“The children really enjoy it and so does Sheldon,” Mrs Sherindan said. “She will even have a drink of hot chocolate if she can get it and always insists on coming in the tent when we have circle time.”

Sheringham Primary School is raising funds for a shed and other Forest Schools equipment including tools, tarpaulins and waterproofs. Anyone willing to help with donations or fundraising can phone the school on 01263 822348.

Sheringham Primary School Forest Schools leader Alison Sheridan helping nine-year-old pupil Attia with some woodland artwork. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Sheringham Primary School Forest Schools leader Alison Sheridan helping nine-year-old pupil Attia with some woodland artwork. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham Primary School teaching assistants Alison Sheringham and Lisa Heir and pupils enjoying a cup of hot chocolate after a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Sheringham Primary School teaching assistants Alison Sheringham and Lisa Heir and pupils enjoying a cup of hot chocolate after a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Elijah, 6, having fun in the mud kitchen during a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Elijah, 6, having fun in the mud kitchen during a Forest Schools session. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Six-year-old Sheringham Primary School pupil Daniel with Lenny the chicken. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Six-year-old Sheringham Primary School pupil Daniel with Lenny the chicken. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Lisa Heir with Sheldon the duck, who, with her best friend Lenny the chicken, travels to school and back every day in a pushchair. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Lisa Heir with Sheldon the duck, who, with her best friend Lenny the chicken, travels to school and back every day in a pushchair. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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