Miller Fellow Blog
Tuesday, 26 January 2021 20:41

Responsibility, Collaboration, and Other Lessons Children Learn from Evil Chickens. Featured

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Responsibility, Collaboration, and Other Lessons Children Learn from Evil Chickens. 


“The chicken is evil,” laughed a little boy in the younger group. The small cohort of masked children finished playing a game of sharks and minnows, and were all breathing heavily. Their shrills and laughter still echoed in the large field behind the school building. 


Now, it was time for chicken care. 

“The chicken is not evil,” a little girl piped in, adjusting the mask on her face with her hand. “The chicken is not evil,” she repeated, giggling. The children swayed and jumped where they stood, releasing the jitters from running around so much. “I guess we’ll see today,” said a second girl, “because we’re on chicken duty.”  

Responsibility is an important part of teaching children self reliance and decision making skills. In the YG, feeding our chicken: Easter, is one example of responsibility that implicitly teaches children time management and working in collaboration. The children feed the chicken in groups of two or three after freetime- when the cohort plays a mid-morning game together.  

The children were excited to be on chicken duty today. They were excited to debunk the myth and prove the class was wrong- that Easter is a friendly chicken after all. 

“Doing chicken care helps the chicken,” the youngest child decided as she walked with the group of three to the chicken coop. “Maybe it’ll help her not be so evil”. The group smiled, encouraging one another as they walked through the wire gate. 

“Let me show you how evil this chicken is,” the young boy walked to the gate, opened it, and then jumped back when Easter popped her head out. The two girls were holding the door to the pen open for me when Easter made a leap out of the coop and dashed for the gate to the garden. 


“Oh, no!” they called, “the chicken got out.” I stood back and watched the children work together to get the chicken back into it’s pen. “Here evil chicken,” the girls cooed. Easter pecked at the dirt. They approached the frantic Easter calmly, patiently leading her back to the coop together as their friend poured her feed onto the ground. The chicken clucked, walking on it’s scaly hind legs back into the pen and began pecking at the feed. It made high pitched gurgling sounds as it ate. 


When children work together to accomplish tasks they are learning a myriad of lessons. According to a 2002 study by the University of Minnesota, “young adults who started doing chores at 3 or 4 years old are more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, be successful in academics and in their careers, and are more self-sufficient than those who did not.” 

Of course, there is responsibility, and how to collaborate with others, but -in identifying the importance of caring for Easter, the children were also learning about empathy and compassion.

If taking care of Easter would make her happier, then ultimately she would be less evil.