Cillian Marsh-McGann finds it hard to choose a favourite between his school’s two new goats, Nicole Kidman and Vincent Van Goat.
“Vincent is more calm to pat, a bit shy and woolly,” said Cillian, aged six.
“Nicole is a gobbleguts – she even ate my mum's rosemary bushes.
“But she jumps up and down and is fun to race – she’s faster than me!”
Waratah West Public principal Nicola Moroney said her school had been caring for the two baby goats, or kids, since last week, when Cillian’s mother – a teacher at Tomaree High – mentioned her school was working with organisation Doing it for Our Farmers to look after animals from drought affected properties.
“Our kids respond really well to animals – we already have 30 chickens, an aviary with about 20 birds and our teachers bring in their dogs every couple of weeks for the students to read to,” Ms Moroney said.
“We have a big focus on innovative and outdoor learning, which has so many benefits both for wellbeing and academic performance.
“But it’s also about looking after the animals and responsibility.”
The goats, from near Wee Waa, live in an enclosure near the kindergarten classroom and wear nappies or stay in a makeshift enclosure when they visit classrooms.
Students take turns to bathe, brush and bottle feed the goats and have been spotted seated around the enclosure, reading to the animals.
“During the day and at lunchtime we walk them around the oval with a leash and collar and also allow them to run free,” she said.
“Morale is very good here but this has added an extra element of excitement and an incentive.
“The first thing the students do in the morning is rush to see Vincent and Nicole.”