When Lemon the duck hatched in my Kindergarten classroom over nine years ago I didn't know much she would change my life, for the better.
Right away the students and I realized that Lemon was different from the other three ducklings. Lemon was born with a neurological disability which prevents her from balancing. Without help, she could only lay on her side. Lemon wasn't in pain, but she couldn't take care of herself or live outdoors like most ducks. The Kindergarten children went into high gear trying to figure out ways to help Lemon stand up and be happy.
One day, I overheard one of my students as he was standing in line, waiting to go out for recess. He told his friends that he was going to find a four-leaf clover to give to Lemon, for good luck. He was convinced this would cure her. That's when I realized that not only did Lemon need her human friends, but they needed her as well. There was such important learning and community building over one tiny little duckling.
Finally, the children did come up with a way to help Lemon stand. A dog life vest was attached to a stand so that Lemon could stand up and move back and forth, on her own.
Her newfound independence delighted her. You could tell she was very proud and felt part of the class; part of her human flock.