The children at Wydinia Kindergarten and Early Learning Centre in Colac in western Victoria are solving the age-old question of what comes first – the chicken or the egg – with a new egg incubator and chicken coop bought with the help of the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund.
Sixty children have spent the last two weeks eagerly awaiting the hatching of 12 baby chicks, and have now seen the small baby chicks’ first moments in the world – an exciting and hands-on way to learn about the early stages of life.
President of the Wydinia Kindergarten Parents Committee, Cindy Smith, says the Henny Penny Hatching program teaches children about caring for animals and the circle of life, which wouldn’t have been possible without funding from Fonterra.
“When we showed the kids the fertilised eggs in the new incubator, they were all so excited and would rush in every morning to check if the chicks had hatched,” says Cindy.
“As parents, we believe it’s critical for kids to understand the life cycle and to learn how precious life is – and what better way to do that than from seeing the chicks hatch, to then having the responsibility of looking after them as they grow into laying chickens.
“Thanks to Fonterra we were also able to buy a new chicken pen which means the kindy will be able keep two fully-grown chickens, giving the kids an opportunity to raise the animals and learn how to properly care for them.”
Fonterra Cobden Beverages Plant Manager, Andrew Westlake, says the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund is designed to support groups that keep local communities thriving and the Wydinia Kindergarten and Early Learning Centre is a perfect example of how it is enriching local people’s lives.
“Learning to care for animals is an important part of farm life, so we’re thrilled to be able to bring the experience to all of Wydinia Kindy’s kids,” says Andrew.
“It’s great to see the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund grant already making a positive difference in these children’s lives – bringing them joy and a wonderful learning opportunity that they may not have otherwise had.”
Through the Grass Roots Fund, Fonterra has supported almost 450 initiatives across Victoria and Tasmania that focus on bringing communities together, caring for the environment and promoting healthy lifestyles and dairy nutrition. The Fund provides grants of between $500 and $5,000 for projects and initiatives that make a real difference in Fonterra’s dairy communities.