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PQ Eggs-citedly Welcomes New Feathered Friends

Kids petting a chicken held by an adultExcitement filled the air as Pequenakonck Elementary School students eagerly lined up along the red carpet, waiting for the arrival of some special guests. Suddenly, the police escort arrived, their light bars flashing, causing the crowd to erupt in cheers. School board trustee Brandy Keenan and School Resource Officers Sean Armstrong and Jessica Griesinger escorted the highly anticipated stars - three chickens - through the crowds and into their new home, a green chicken coop. 

The students and faculty were thrilled as they petted the chickens and took photographs. 

"It felt so fluffy!" said first-grader Bella after petting one of the arriving chickens. 

Students-take-turns-petting-the-new-chickens"I was surprised they brought chickens because I thought we would only have chicks," said fourth-grader Jillian as she reached to pet another.

These three chickens are the newest members of the school community. They will reside in the courtyard next to the school's entrance, in a coop donated by the PQ Parent Teacher Organization in partnership with the Farm2School Committee. The breeds include an Olive Egger, an Easter Egger, and a Mystic Maran, which will lay green, blue, and chocolate brown eggs, respectively.

Every year, first-grade students observe chicks hatching from eggs in their classrooms. Currently, students are taking care of this year's eggs in incubators. While this beloved tradition will continue, the Farm2School Committee aims to expand this learning experience.

"To give the students an opportunity to see what happens after those eggs hatch and a chick grows into an egg-laying chicken would bring that lesson full circle," said Keenan. She gave many examples of the expanded opportunities for learning, including writing prompts, art projects, mindfulness activities, science observations, and math exercises.

"It also teaches life skills like the responsibility and hard work of caring for another creature, how chickens are useful in providing us with food, compost, eating pests, etc.," said Keenan. "Caring for livestock requires problem solving and creative thinking. It fits in nicely with our Profile of a Fifth Grader and our school mission."

ther checkensThe student council chose potential names inspired by the five characteristics in the Profile of a Fifth Grader. On Friday, all students voted for their favorite names. Pequenakonck Elementary School proudly introduces Larry the Improving Learner, Clucky the Communicator, and Critical Thinker Carl.

"This will undoubtedly make students happy and bring joy to the PQ family, and the learning possibilities are endless," said Principal Roy Martin. "Collectively caring for the PQ chickens will bring us closer as a community and allow us to spread positivity throughout the building. If we can make school a place where children want to be, the rest is easy."