Harry Potter’s famous owl, Hedwig, flew into Pre-Prep to join pupils for a magical animal WOW Day. The whole school came dressed as their favourite animal to spend an entire day learning about animals, their habitats and other amazing animalfacts. As part of their learning they received a visit from a Barn Owl, a cheeky raven, an Eagle Owl, Hedwig the Snowy Owl, Bandit the dog and a very noisy Harris Hawk, all of which have been trained to work in films and commercials.

Throughout the morning pupils watched some
of the animals ‘acting’. Bandit the dog, who is
completely deaf and trained using sign
language – played dead, limped, danced,
begged, spoke and gave the children lots of
cuddles. They also discovered how the
animals are trained, some of which are easier
than others, for example a raven can learn to
retrieve a stick within a day, but it can take an owl up to three months to learn the same task.
They also found out why the trainer rewards the birds with treats in a silver bowl and how the
trainer has to wear a special suit on the film set so they cannot be seen in the finished film.

Later in the day Pre-Prep pupils also had a fantastic visit from Zoolab, where they met some slightly smaller animals: a rat, a hermit crab, a beautiful corn snake, a tarantula, an African land snail and a spiny stick insect. They discovered what the animals eat, where they live and were able to hold ortouch some of them. Some of the unusual facts learnt included: a hermit crab will ‘try before it buys’ when choosing a new shell – staying in several shells before selecting a new home, a rat can have between 6 and 24 babies and a corn snake has over 300 bones – which is more than a human has!

Pupils also had fun learning with animal activities, such as observing and learning about the different parts of a fish, animal songs in music andmovement, making ‘hedgehogs’ and finding out more amazing facts using the library and internet.

“Today has been a fantastic day and an incredible opportunity for the children to get close to some beautiful birds and animals.” explained Dr. Carolyn Shelley. “It was especially exciting to meet Hedwig who the children know so well from his appearances in films and to be able to hold some very unusual creatures!”