Animals Come to School Stuffed Creatures Assist in Learning

By Hart, Christie | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 27, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Animals Come to School Stuffed Creatures Assist in Learning


Hart, Christie, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Some curious creatures are living among the 4- and 5-year-olds in Jill Butts' preschool classroom.

Lions lurk there. A bald eagle has landed. There are tigers and rabbits and a giraffe and a goat and a pair of elephants.

Yep. Butts' classroom is a zoo.

The children in her class at Prairie Children Preschool have turned part of their room into a zoo for very special animals - the friendly, stuffed kind - as part of their on-going exploration of the wild kingdom.

The children in both Butts' morning and afternoon classes have been learning about the animals that they would find in a zoo and about the people who care for them. With the help and encouragement of Butts and student teacher Katie McKay, the children have created their own private zoo.

"The kids just really latched onto the zoo idea," Butts said. "It can be hard to get both the a.m. and p.m. classes to be this excited about something, but there's a high level of excitement in both classes."

Butts and McKay talked with the students about zoo animals and where they live, the teacher said. From that discussion, the children used boxes, paper and pipe cleaners to create cages and habitats for the stuffed animals they brought in from home.

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