St. Joseph kindergartners have the scoop on nocturnal animals

By Chicago 4 Min Read

ST. JOSEPH — Night owls are flocking to St. Joseph Grade School … along with bats, raccoons, spiders and more.

The kindergarten nocturnal animals unit is about to culminate with a Halloween party on Tuesday that will include the kids’ parents.

They’ll get to participate in themed activities, but the students have already learned a lot about nocturnal creatures and are ready to share their knowledge.

Here’s the report from an expert panel made up of kindergartners from classes taught by Erin Ward, Brenda Beals, Diane Stevens and Lindsey Parrish.

Wade Althoff wants everyone to be clear: Nocturnal animals are awake at night and sleep during the day.


“They’re nocturnal.”

Evelynn Esteves is a big fan of spiders, but she can also fire off facts about owls.

“Owls have feathers so they can’t make a sound,” Esteves said.

Elina Purellku concurred, saying that she likes owls a lot.

“I like owls because their feathers are so smooth and they can get an animal so quick,” Purellku said.

They aren’t the only quick ones: Dean Tampasis said raccoons can snatch things up too.

“Raccoons have superhero hands,” Tampasis said.

Tampasis said that just by touching something, raccoons can sense if it’s good to eat.

Fact check: Raccoons do not have psychic powers, but they are known to feel the shape and texture of their food to be able to identify the same thing again later.

Zachary Perkins weighed in to inform the public that he knows the difference between cheetahs and tigers.

This represented a shift in the panel’s focus from the topic of nocturnal animals to other important subjects, including the following:

Mason Ginger has 14 Pokémon cards, and his favorite is Charizard.Forest Blake demonstrated his ability to count to 120 by fives; Zachary Perkins claimed to be able to count to “three million thousand,” but was asked to refrain.Matthew Munsterman can spell his last name on top of plenty of three-letter words.

With Halloween right around the corner, each kindergartner has their costume planned out.

St. Joseph residents, be prepared for this all-star cast: Purellku as Minnie Mouse, Ginger as a velociraptor “fossil that is still alive,” Blake as a ghost, Tampasis as Mario, Perkins also as Mario, Munsterman as Batman, Esteves as a butterfly and Althoff as a skeleton with blood and an ax.

Althoff reports that his costume will be “very creepy.”

For the Nocturnal Animals Event on Tuesday, each kindergarten teacher has planned an activity for the parents and kids to enjoy together, each themed around a different nocturnal animal.

That includes dissecting owl pellets, making a spiderweb with yarn, and digging through a box to identify items by touch alone like a raccoon.

Stevens is excited for her station, where kids and parents get matching scented necklaces and the blindfolded parents have to find their children by smell, just like a bat.

“It gets pretty funny, especially if they’re having a hard time finding the right ‘baby bat,’” she said.

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