Opportunities “Hatch” at Cordova School

— Written By Laura Grier and last updated by Leeann Crump
Cordova School students watch as chicks hatch in their classroom.

Cordova School students watch as chicks hatch in their classroom.

Richmond County 4-H and Cordova School, both supported by United Way of Richmond County, partnered together to bring “Embryology in the Classroom” to the students at the school. The 4-H school enrichment program began October 13th and will conclude Friday, November 7, 2014. During the 21-day program, youth learn about the life cycle of the chicken, and helped to ensure healthy growth by turning and candling the eggs, monitoring temperature, and keeping water in the incubator.

Children have a natural sense of curiosity about living things in the world around them. Building on this curiosity, Cordova students gained an understanding of biological concepts through direct experience with living things, their life cycles and their habitats. Evidence has shown that youth learn best through their experiences and interactions with the world. They learn by listening, observing, experimenting and applying their knowledge to real-world situations. Utilizing the experiential learning model, students do hands-on activities, reflect on the meaning, and apply what they learn. Providing an experience alone does not create “experiential learning”: the activity comes first. The learning comes from the thoughts and ideas created as a result of the experience.

4-H Embryology in the Classroom helps students to develop life skills, which help an individual live a productive and satisfying life. Students that participate in the program have the opportunity to develop life skills related to science processes, managing, thinking, working, relating, and living a healthy lifestyle. Teachers have reported, during past programs, that student’s attendance and attention is improved because they are excited to see what happens as the eggs develop, getting the chance to turn the eggs, and taking temperature readings. During the project, educators can also make the connection to food production and the importance of agriculture to our states’ economy.

Currently, Cordova School serves 71 students, all of whom are significantly cognitively disabled, ranging in age from 5 to 22, who have been determined by their Individual Education Program (IEP) team to need the restrictiveness of a public separate school placement. Many of the students have severe medical and physical needs; many of the students are in need of total physical care and assistance; and many have other multiple disabilities such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, and autism in addition to their cognitive challenges. Student assignment to Cordova is through the IEP team process for all current Richmond County School students. The faculty and staff of Cordova provide services in the following areas:  occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision therapy, guidance, health services, physical education, and speech.

Richmond County 4-H receives support to offer programs like this, at no cost, through the generosity of Richmond County Farm Bureau and community support through the United Way of Richmond County. For more information on Richmond County 4-H contact Laura Grier, 4-H Agent, at 910.997.8255 or laura_grier@ncsu.edu.

Richmond County 4-H is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/richmondcounty4h.