05/14/2012 06:52 pm ET Updated May 14, 2012

Sterling Elementary School Gets Surprise Duck Residents

This almost makes us want to go back to school.

Sterling Elementary School first grade teacher Katherine Hayden wanted to spruce up the Virginia school's courtyard. Figuring the not-too-exciting patch of grass could be used for more, she began to rehab the space. A garden was planted and plans for a butterfly or bird habitat were discussed. Members of the school's "green team" installed a small pond.

The space became so inviting that a few weeks ago, a duck decided to make the school its home. That's recently become 11 ducks (12, by one account) -- the mother duck and her bunch of babies, all living in the school's courtyard, facing a hallway where students can see them throughout the day.

"A few times of day the mother duck leaves the courtyard," Hayden told The Huffington Post. "During these times, she directs her ducklings to hover together in the center of the pond."

“We’re not getting much work done…” Principal Teri Finn told The Loudoun Times-Mirror.

Hayden said the kids are "very excited" about the ducks, and are "very proud of creating a welcoming environment for the ducks."

There's an educational component as well. The ducks have become part of the curriculum, with students learning about the animals' life cycle, habitat, care and more. Teachers and parents have been getting into the ducks, too, donating their time, plants, compost and rain barrels to foster a comfortable environment.

"This little project is now involving everybody," Hayden said. "They're putting a little cramp in our vegetable gardening but that's ok."

Ducks of Sterling Elementary School