Sheringham pupils go ‘quackers’ for outdoor learning
PUBLISHED: 15:59 28 November 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
“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.