25 Jan 2023

The chicks are in…


We have chicks in school, cute little fluffy birds and I have to be honest, I could never have imagined that these tiny golden balls of feathers could make such a huge impact.

There was some trepidation before we made the decision to bring them into school: how would our young people take to them? What if they were triggering? What if this went horribly wrong…

But sometimes you have to put the what-ifs aside, and so we asked the young people in our school assembly about our possible addition to the community. Their excitement was delightful but they asked some important questions: what if one of them dies? What if one of them was sick?

What if…

It was those what-ifs again, so the question was, what if we took a risk and brought chicks into our school?

They arrived on Monday in an egg box (!). The living eggs were placed in the classroom and almost instantly our young people were taken by them. There was plenty of egg chat and plenty of opportunity for us all to brush up on our science. Incidentally, this was also the main topic of conversation in our staff meeting, where we learnt about the difference between a fertilised and non-fertilised egg, only to be asked completely different questions the next day about what would happen to the chicks once they were returned to the farm.

The living eggs were placed in an incubator in the classroom. Over the next few days, we all watched and waited.

And then the magic happened. As the eggs started to crack, the young people gathered around, mesmerised by what was happening. A young chick pecked its way out of the hard egg and flopped out in front of them. It was life being born in front of them.  Within a few days, the young people could hold them, and then the real magic happened for me.

I walked into the classroom from my office and saw the young people around the table, sitting completely still. On closer inspection, I noticed that each one was cradling a baby chick in their palms. In that moment, gone was the trauma, the anxiety, the ever-present simmering suffering, and whilst the chicks slept in their hands, they just all looked content…and still.

This is why the cultural capital experiences we bring to our young people are so meaningful. We can’t for obvious reasons take them out of the hospital, but we are strong believers in bringing rich experiences to them. Without a doubt, the baby chicks have been a valuable educational and personal development experience.

And now we’re having discussions about what animal we should have next. I don’t know what could be as magical as watching the eggs hatch and then holding the chicks in class.

I’m open to suggestions but in the meantime here are some cute chick pics…because why not?

Samreen Shah

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