Meerilinga Cockburn Early Learning Centre gets clucky


Four-year-olds Aubrey Harper-Uldum and Henry Gajic with a chicken. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d460068
Four-year-olds Aubrey Harper-Uldum and Henry Gajic with a chicken. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d460068

CHICKENS dressed up in bling might seem a bit odd, but staff at a Coolbellup childcare centre say it is a colourful element of an early learning program driving great results.

CHICKENS dressed up in bling might seem a bit odd, but staff at a Coolbellup childcare centre say it is a colourful element of an early learning program driving great results.

Meerilinga Cockburn’s Early Learning Centre has been transformed over the past five years from a dilapidated shell into a facility exceeding the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority’s national standards.

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Chief executive Lesley Moreschi said the not-for-profit centre’s early learning program offered an interactive and play-based pre-kindy option for families to support their child’s development.

“At the core of the program is play with purpose, a fundamental means by which young children develop,” she said.

“We encourage play to broaden children’s experiences, develop their imagination, language skills, strengthen them mentally and enhance their dexterity.”

She said chickens offered a meaningful way for children to develop ongoing relationships with animals, with the bling there to help kids tell Olaf, Barry and Hetty apart.

Ms Moreschi said chickens taught children how to be gentle with living things, how to nurture and how things were interconnected, as well as helping to overcome fear of animals and learn about the importance of hygiene.

“Children have a natural affinity with and curiosity for living creatures,” she said.

“Providing meaningful ways for children to develop an ongoing relationship with animals in a preschool can be a powerful experience.”