Sunday, 17 May 2015

A bunny and its nest in our playground!

It is not the language of painters
but the language of nature which one should listen to....
The feeling for the things themselves,
for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.
-Vincent van Gogh

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

In my experience a natural phenomenon has had the power to spark some amazing investigations! In this case, a bunny and it's nest were identified in our playground which created quite a stir of excitement, wonder, and empathy by the children! I was just as excited but also surprised that we were able to experience such an incredible event in an urban environment. It was a magical few days which I am so grateful that the children and I were able to be a part of.

What follows is a snapshot of our encounters and learning from the bunnies in our playground.


It's important to note that we had to do our experiment twice. The first time we attempted, the string was not found the next day. Some of the students thought that birds took it to make their nests, or the mommy bunny took it inside the nest with her. Others said the wind blew it away. It could be that someone removed the string not knowing what its purpose was. We tried it again. This time, the following morning students noticed that the "X" looked the same as when we placed it the day before. We took a picture of it as instructed by the Toronto Wildlife Centre which would help us remember what it looked like. We concluded that the mommy bunny was not coming back for the bunnies anymore. We knew that this was an option because the Toronto Wildlife Centre told us that when the bunnies are 3 to 4 weeks old, they are old enough to be left on their own.

"The mom didn't come back so the babies are old enough to be by themselves." K. W.

Students remained interested in the bunnies even after school was over. They were not only fascinated to continue observing them, but had some concern about the safety of the bunnies being all alone with so many people and predators around. S. C. and his mom decided to check on the bunnies one evening after attending Beavers. The observations and video they shared with the class was amazing and once again, magical!

S. C.'s observations:

"The one that came out of the nest was more curious than the others." 

"There's more action in the night because the bunnies sometimes are awake at night." 

"We saw the bunny eating leaves." 

Bunnies in the playground! Thanks to S. C., family, and friends for allowing us to share this video with our learning community!


We continue to investigate our wonders and have begun to make distinctions between rabbits and hares. We also figured out that our bunnies are Cottontails. Here is H. S.'s thinking from some books and a pamphlet we read together in class, as well as in speaking with our expert friends.

After a few days, our bunnies were gone. We looked daily for them but it seems they became independent and started their own journey. But last week we got a glimpse of one who was hiding in our class flower garden! This time the students were quiet and spoke in low voices. They didn't get too close knowing that it would scare the bunny. They watched and wondered why this one remained...

Teaching children about the natural world should be treated 
as one of the most important events in their lives.
-Thomas Berry

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

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