“A hedgehog is our school’s logo is because when the first headteacher came to unlock the front door for the first time, a hedgehog scurried in front of her,” explained ten-year-old Zoe
Celebrating their hedgehog heritage, the entire school has been involved in an incredible cross-curriculum prickly project, with even the youngest children contributing.
“It has been totally immersive and the children have loved it,” said Alison Sole, Assistant Headteacher. “They have written poetry, created fact files and hedgehog art and have all taken part in a competition to design or build a hedgehog house. Some of them even made hedgehog truffles!”
Chatting to pupils, their enthusiasm for the theme was certainly apparent.
“There are under one million hedgehogs in the UK now, but in the 1950s there were thirty million,” Ginny told me.
“A lady from Brent Lodge [wildlife hospital] came in and showed us a real hedgehog and told us all about them,” offered Mia, who especially enjoyed making a clay hedgehog and writing a persuasive letter about the spiky creatures.
Asking what else they found out prompted an immediate chorus of information.
“They roll up in a ball when they are frightened and they could be extinct by the time I am twenty-six,” said Amelia, as Georgina chipped in: “You can help them by putting out cat or dog food and water.”
“Not milk, because they are lactose intolerant,” interjected Zoe. “They could die if they have milk.”
“Or you could build a hedgehog houses in your garden by scooping a pile of leaves together for them to hide in,” said Jake.
“The lady from Brent Lodge answered all our questions and she showed us a real hedgehog,” Freddie added, beaming at the memory.
“Badgers are their main predators,” said James. Foxes can’t get them once they roll up, but badgers can.”
“They lose some of their spikes every year,” Audrey told me, “and they can swim and climb,” added Ruby.
Nodding, Ben added: “And they are good swimmers, but they get tired really quickly.
“If you see one near a garden wall then it could be trying to get to the next patch, so help it over otherwise it will get tired and be an easy target for predators,” said Ginny, as Mrs Sole explained that hedgehogs are nomadic and can travel for miles but can get stuck in gardens (“so we can help by making little holes in our fences.”)
Agreeing that they loved meeting a real hedgehog, the children have had huge fun with their project and are proud of their work.
“It was fabulistic!” summarised Mia.
And with every pupil adding their handprint to a hedgehog banner, as well as collecting a stack of food for the hedgehogs at Brent Lodge, a glance at the walls shows that the topic also prompted some extraordinary writing and art and a wealth of knowledge about our prickled friends. You could say that Parklands School has gone the whole (hedge) hog.
More information: www.brentlodge.org