Hens Help Teach Kids About Sustainability

Sigrún Hulda Jónsdóttir, holding one of the hens.

Sigrún Hulda Jónsdóttir, holding one of the hens. Photo/Kristinn Magnússon

Vala Hafstað

At  the preschool Urðarhóll in Kópavogur, Southwest Iceland, children are taught about sustainability with the help of hens, Morgunblaðið reports.

Urðarhóll preschool was the first of 23 health-preschools to be established in Iceland. In 1995, its then director Unnur Stefánsdóttir presented a school policy, along with her teachers, aiming at increasing joy and wellbeing among children by focusing on nourishment, exercise and creativity.

Photo/Kristinn Magnússon

Six hens have been kept at Urðarhóll for the past year and a half with the aim of teaching the children about how to avoid food waste, according to Preschool Director Sigrún Hulda Jónsdóttir. The hens are given leftover foods, and their eggs are eaten at the school and in the children’s homes on weekends.

“The hens have enriched our work and increased cooperation with the children’s parents,” Sigrún states.

Parents volunteered to build the henhouse, and on weekends, they take turns caring for the hens. “Keeping the hens has been such a success, and even though it’s been this long, interest in taking care of them has not decreased,” she adds.

“We believe you can increase the wellbeing of children with healthy foods, lots of exercise and time spent outdoors,” she explains. “Creativity is a good way to get an outlet for your energy through song, acting and dance.” There is an emphasis on minimizing added fat, sugar or salt in the food. Physical exercise aims at increasing coordination, strength and courage, in addition to improving your self-image and communication.

“We are always open to new ideas, and we’re constantly developing something new and enjoyable,” Sigrún concludes.

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