Over this past weekend I was able to do something really fun with my daughter. We’re members at Roger Williams Zoo, so we get the newsletter. In a recent newsletter, they were advertising for the Summer Camps that they offer there for children. They were also advertising for a program called Preschool Adventures. Being the parent of a preschooler, this immediately caught my eye. Reading on I found out that this is a program for 3-5 year olds, that they do with a parent/guardian/adult. It’s an hour and half long class where the kids get to learn about a certain animal or part of the zoo. In January, the class learned about the Moon Bears at the zoo. Emily wasn’t really interested in learning about the Moon Bears, so we passed on January’s class. So for February’s class, they were teaching the kids about the Farmyard. They have an exhibit at Roger Williams that is a Farmyard. There are goats, rabbits, chickens, a donkey, a couple of owls, and more. Emily loves this exhibit, so she was very excited to do this class.
We got to the zoo a little bit ahead of time, so we could walk around a bit. We saw some animals (cheetahs, elephants, flamingos, and more) and the headed up towards the Farmyard. The class was being held in the Zoo Lab, which is a building right behind the Farmyard. A little before the class started, Emily and I sat on a bench outside of the building and she had a little snack. I had forgotten her stroller, so she had walked the whole time. (Trust me, it was a lot for her.) We were greeted, as we had our snack, by the teacher of our class. Her name was Miss Mackenzie (I might have spelled this wrong, so I’m sorry to her if I did). She was very nice. She let us know that she was opening the door in a few minutes and we’d start class in a little while.
Emily and I sat on the bench and she finished her snack. We watched some other children and their parents go in before us. Once Emily was done, we went in. Miss Mackenzie told us to hang up our coats in the cubbies outside the class and then come on in so Emily could take her name tag. When we went into the room, Emily went over and found her name tag. She put it on and we proceeded to go play for a little while. There were several little stations on the rug in the front of the room. There were plastic animals to play with. Blocks to build with. A bunny burrow and bunnies. Legos. And more. Emily immediately gravitated towards the bunny burrow. (She LOVES bunnies.)
After a little while of play, Miss Mackenzie asked the kids as a class to pick up the toys on the floor. They got together and all picked up. Emily protested a little, but she did what she was told. Once the toys were picked up, Miss Mackenzie called the children to come sit on the floor. The parents were encouraged to pull up a chair or sit on the floor behind their child. (Emily wanted me to sit on the floor with her.)
Miss Mackenzie talked to the kids about Farmyard and what they were. She did an activity with the kids and spelling out Farmyard. She talked about some of the goats that they had in the Zoo Farmyard. The kids really liked seeing the pictures of the goats and hearing all of the funny names. Then she handed out some felt animals and tools, and had the kids put them up on a board that looked like a farm scene.
After this, Miss Mackenzie handed out some cut out goats for the kids to color in. She said she would come around as the kids were coloring and give them the clothespin legs for the goats. Emily really enjoyed this. She is an artsy kid, so coloring was right up her alley. She colored one side of her goat red and the other side aqua and orange. It’s a very colorful goat.
After all of the kids were done coloring, they got more time to play with the toys while we waited for a special animal guest. I knew that Emily was really excited about the guest. Miss Mackenzie did a great job of laying the rules out there for the kids. She put up a pen for the animal and told the kids that they weren’t allowed to put their hands inside of it. They were able to get right up to the edge, but no hands inside the pen. Miss Mackenzie brought out Split the bunny for the kids to meet. He was so cute. She put him in the pen and the kids were able to watch him jump around. They loved it.
A few minutes later, Miss Mackenzie picked up Spilt and brought him around so every kid got the chance to pet him. She made it clear what to do and how to pet him. All of the kids did really well. I had to remind Emily not to get in Split’s face, but besides that she did really well. I was very impressed with how gentle she was with him. She loved seeing Split. (I know she wants a bunny at home. Maybe this was a sign that she is ready for it.)
After all of the kids were able to pet Split, Miss Mackenzie put the bunny back in her carrying case. She told the kids to wash their hands. After handling an animal you’re not familiar with, you always want to wash your hands. Once everyone washed their hands, we were instructed to get our coats and belongings. We were heading out to see the goats. On our way out, Miss Mackenzie handed the kids their animal sticker for the class to add to their Animal books. She handed out books to the kids who were new to Preschool Adventures as well. Then we headed out to the Farmyard.
Miss Mackenzie handed out a handful of goat food to each kid. The kids were able to feed the goats and pet them. It was fun to hear the kids mention the names of the goats they remembered from when Miss Mackenzie showed them the pictures earlier in the class. Miss Mackenzie took this opportunity to say good-bye and wish us all a good rest of our weekend.
We both loved this class. It was a lot of fun to see the children learning something. I loved watching Emily do activities and getting the chance to interact with animals.
Emily and I walked around the zoo a little more after class. It was great to get the one on one time with her and even see some more animals. I could tell that she was starting to get hungry and cranky, so I knew it was time to head out. Next month the Preschool Adventures class is going to be learning about Zebras. Emily and I are both very excited to go to this class.
Photos from our day at Roger Williams Zoo
(***I’m in no way being paid to talk about Roger Williams Zoo or the Preschool Adventures program. It is something that my daughter and I did and loved, so I wanted to write about it. The opinions are my own. Like I said, we loved it.***)