Who Else Lives Here?

Who Else Lives Here?

During one of our outdoor workshops this summer, we had the opportunity to consider who else lives in and uses our green space. Children noticed bees, birds, squirrels, spiders and ants. But the discovery of a dead animal in the grass led to many observations and questions. 

We began the conversation with a simple question: What is it?

  • I think it’s a squirrel. Why? What makes you think so? Because of the fur.

  • I think it’s a raccoon. It’s fur is dark.

  • Whatever it is it’s dead

  • A bunny Why a bunny? Because I see its fur.

  • Dinosaur bone.

  • Maybe something killed it or it got old and died.

  • Or maybe it was sick.

  • Look, I see teeth Do the teeth give you any clues? Well there’s some long ones in front. Oh, what has long teeth like that? Maybe a chipmunk or squirrel?

  • Here’s its tail.

  • Look, it’s hollow here.

The children used sticks as tools to poke at the body and get a closer look. They examined the teeth, skeleton, and fur. They talked with each other about what they thought it was, how it might have died, and respectfully disagreed.

We never got around to telling them that it was a rabbit. While they initially wanted to know what it was, the focus quickly turned to noticing details, considering options, listening to each other’s ideas, and making discoveries. The correct identification was not important here. Had we said at the start, “Oh look, a dead rabbit,” the children probably would not have shown nearly as much interest. They may have been frightened, disgusted, or eager to move on to something else. Because we chose to let them try to figure it out, this became an adventure; one of many upon which the children at Northern Lights will embark.