Teachers have favorites. I hate to break it to you, but we do. For me, it’s usually the nature-loving, part wild child, book-loving child that finds a space in my heart. Sophie was that child for me eleven years ago. She arrived on the first day of Kindergarten with a whole lot of spirit and spunk. I loved her right away. As I soon found out, Sophie had many passions. Her mother told me that at 4 years old that she announced that she would be a vegetarian. No one else in her family was a vegetarian so there were lots of changes in the household, as you can imagine. But the parents honored her decision and from then on she was a vegetarian.
Children this age often choose to be vegetarians because when they learn where they food comes from (a long lashed soft-eyed cow, a clever chicken that can outfox a fox, a cute pink pig like Wilbur or Babe) they become very upset and decide right then and there they will be stewards of animals. We often chatted about Sophie’s vegetarianism at morning circle because some of the other children in my class didn’t understand what being a vegetarian meant. Sophie was kind and patient when she explained that she didn’t want to eat animals because she loved them. There was no judgement, just a simple and clear explanation. My heart swelled. I found a few picture books on being a vegetarian – I have no control when it comes to an opportunity to acquire more books – and this one was our class favorite.
You may have thought that some of the other children would’ve decided to become vegetarians, but they didn’t. They simply accepted that Sophie’s lunch was just lunch and they ate up the Herb the Vegetarian book.
Sophie came to kindergarten with another passion: Indigo Buntings. Sophie had seen one in North Carolina and that’s when her passion for the Indigo Bunting began. So yes, at four years old, she had a passion for all things Indigo Bunting.
She drew them.
She talked about them.
She asked me at least once a week, usually on a Monday, if I’d seen one that weekend. Sadly, I always said no.
Sophie wanted (aka slightly demanded) to know more about them. Yay! Me too! I brought in my Audubon bird identification book and provided her with books and many Montessori lessons on birds, and since she learned how to read with me that year she began independently reading about them during D.E.A.R (drop everything and read) time. I presented lessons on the external parts of a bird and then she made her own bird book (she colored her bird blue), lessons on the internal parts of birds (and she made a diagram), lessons on geography (we researched North America and where the Indigo Buntings live), lessons on migration (we researched Central America), lessons on how birds reproduce, what they eat, and what their nests look like. I spent the whole year integrating Indigo Buntings into the curriculum areas for her and on every field trip the whole class was on the lookout for them. Everyone grew to love and appreciate the Indigo Bunting, and Sophie sealed her place in my heart.
I had never seen an Indigo Bunting live and in person
Here’s what the Mister and I saw at 6:20 a.m. this morning!
Here’s a little bit about Indigo Buntings.
- They have a conical beak that give you an idea of what they eat: small seeds, berries, and insects. They will come to your thistle feeders and will really like your live mealworm feeder.
- They are native to North America.
- They are roughly the size of sparrows; small and stocky birds.
- They frequent areas where the woods meet the fields.
- Their nests are made of grasses, sticks, leaves, and wrapped in spider silk.
- They lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs and can have up to 3 broods a season. Their eggs are white with some brown spots.
- The nestlings fledge at two weeks old.
Thank you, Sophie.