Kindergarten: Birth, Death and Naming Animals

When the children from the kindergarten class were outside one day, they noticed some baby squirrels playing. Later, one of the children noticed the same squirrels on the ground. Somehow they had died. See more here
This is from an earlier conversation, represented in full at the link above:
Tristan (an 8th grade reading buddy):
What do you think would be the best way to remember the squirrels?

Caroline: We could draw them.       Eve: You could pick a name for them.

Zoey: We could write a name on each squirrel.

Mary: Lets return to the comment Kate made. How do you think their families feel?
Scarlett: I think that they are very sad.

Eve: We could write a sign that says no squirrel here and yes squirrels here on the place that we buried them.

Cal: They may not be able to read.

Eve: So let’s draw the squirrels with a big circle and line through it. We could put nuts under the signs so they (their family) could find them.


Anna "I noticed a lot of the names you were choosing for the squirrels sounded like people names."

Zack "Squirrels HAVE names, we just don’t know what they are."

Eve "Maybe it would be fair if their parents would start chattering and we would try to understand what they said, and if we didn’t we would give them a different name. OR, we could just talk to them in a chattering voice."
Charlie "I have an idea about it. You can hear what they’re saying, but they don’t talk. Well squirrels don’t actually talk, but they talk in squirrel language." 
Julia "And we can’t know what the squirrel way is."

Cal "We can know, we could look it up, how to chat in squirrel." 

Group "…well, there’s computers here.."

Shana "It’s very hard to decide (on a name). My Mom and my Dad didn’t know what to name me, so I got named after my Mom’s mom."

Kate "I don’t know what their names are, but I’m sure if they talk their squirrel talk, and we hear them, if we know how to do that talk, maybe we could do it. They could tell us their names and then we will know their names."

Zoey "I was thinking that if somebody didn’t have a name, if every single person was without a name... if you don’t have a name, and (somebody says) come here', everybody in the whole class will come. The person that doesn’t have a name would think ‘they mean me', and then everybody would just rush to there.   Maybe when we bury them (the squirrels) we should put a little marker and write their name."

Cal "my idea, if a dog knew the squirrels, I could talk to them. I can say one word (in dog language)...  or I can say two words. For a dollar or something, I could get a dog to give us a dollar or something. I could say ‘roo roo.  Zack knows how to do that, too."

Charlie "Since there’s two squirrels, all the girls could have a name for one of them, and all the boys could give the other name."

Cal "When you’re born you need a name, but first they need to know if it’s a boy or a girl."

Anna "When you die do you need a name?"

group "No!"

group "Wait, you do!" 

Shana "Because you need to have a little stone with your name on it."

Cal "Did you know that every two quarters a day there’s a baby born, and somebody dies?"

Eve "Oh, I knew that!"

Caroline "Also, I know that every day is somebody’s birthday."


  1. Such a lot of interesting things going on here. Carlina Rinaldi is right that children ask - and try to answer - the big questions. I notice that although the comments about the squirrels express grief and sadness, the drawings show smiling squirrels.


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