Monday, May 23, 2011

Mooey opens doors to connect with kids of all ages

The preschoolers lasted about 20 minutes for the presentation.
Last week Mooey amazed me with her ability to connect to students at Cheshire Barn Preschool and Ayer High School. There's something about an animal, especially a hurt animal, that brings out compassion.

Both the preschool and high school students "got" the link between the pecking order of chickens and how humans exclude and mistreat each other. Some of the preschoolers were afraid of Mooey, which surprised me.
The kids enjoyed singing Down by the Bay, Where the Watermelons Grow with custom lyrics such as: Did you ever see a boy grab somebody's toy? Did you ever see a girl get hit and do nothing to stop it? Did you ever see a chicken take a lickin?

I created some more lyrics: Did you ever:
See a bear who didn't play fair?
See a whale mock someone who reads Braille?
Have a friend you didn't defend?
See a queen say something mean?
Mooey gets a little excited at Ayer High School.

The high school students didn't sing Down by the Bay, but they did engage in an animated discussion about raising chickens and why Mooey got bullied.

Their answers aligned with the typical reasons kids get bullied. Perhaps Mooey:
1. Wasn't assertive.
2. Looked different from the other chickens.
3. Something was wrong with her.
4. She acted annoyingly.
5. Was weaker/smaller than the other chickens.

It got them thinking and talking about the reasons for bullying and how to use their intellect instead of their instinct. The funniest moment in the program was when I put up the slide from my high school yearbook that shows how I look different from everyone else and someone said, "Which one are you?" Everyone laughed because the answer is obvious. The ninth-graders paid attention and participated. They were very interested in my stories about getting bullied in middle and high school. On the evaluation they wrote that it was a different angle than the usual lectures on bullying, bully awareness and bully prevention.

I'm looking forward to my next visit to a school or camp. June will be a long month for schools in Maine,  Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire because of the many snow days this winter that we'll have to pay the price for. Right now the program is being piloted, so there's no charge.

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