Chickens inspire learning in Tigerton School District

Published: Aug. 23, 2019 at 5:44 PM CDT
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Hatching baby chicks in the classroom happens in schools around the country, but what comes after that in Tigerton is something not found anywhere else. A project in the Tigerton School District brings the village together.

"I got the idea after serving lunch at the elementary school," said Kerri Giese, a library assistant and the founder of the Tigerton Coop. "There was so much food waste, and I thought, 'Why don't we turn some of that into fresh eggs?'"

A year of getting approval from school and village boards, more than five grants, community donations, and a lot of concession stand fundraising made her crazy idea a reality.

"The more things we can do for our kids, the more we can expose them to and give them different learning experiences, the cooler it is," said Tigerton School District Administrator Ben Rayome.

Classroom incubators teach kids the circle of life. A student-built chicken coop provides real world experiences. The opportunity for fresh eggs and another option to eliminate food waste puts sustainable education into practice.

Even with school out for the summer, the hens still make contributions to learning at the Tigerton Public Library through "Read to a Chicken."

"It sat good with me, but did try to peck my face and the book," said Tegan Wilson, an 11-year-old girl about her first time reading to a chicken.

Giese hosted a special event on Friday afternoon to show Action 2 News what it was all about, and the library saw its biggest turnout yet.

"It was like reading to a person who didn't know how to read, but they also couldn't talk," said Wilson.

She reads to Winifred as the young hen appears to follow along with the words.

"Especially kids that might be nervous about reading. It's good for kids to get that confidence and build their reading skills," said Giese.

"Read to a Chicken" will be the third Saturday of the month throughout the fall. Giese hopes to bring chickens into school libraries within the Tigerton School District during the school year.

The next event is Saturday, September 21, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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