We started this week with the perfect project… that didn’t quite go as planned. Early this week, one of our OAD’s found a little caterpillar in the side yard. Believing that there was no way it could survive out in the cold, we all decided to bring it in the classroom. Together, the OAD’s spent the next two days caring for our little caterpillar friend and learning about him. We learned how to find food for him by searching through books, we learned facts (that even I didn’t know) about a caterpillar’s life, and we even learned that there are plenty of caterpillars that live in the cold (based on pictures we found, we think he might have been a “winter moth”).
I thought that having this little guy, (or gal), to care for would be a great opportunity for the Older All Days to develop a sense of respect and admiration for other living things. Having him in the classroom also turned out to offer plenty of other learning opportunities, too. Reading and recording interesting information about our caterpillar was great for early literacy development. We had so many great discussions about where and how we can learn about animals we want to understand more about; great science and language activities! These kinds of projects- the kind of project that follows a child’s interests, experiences, and inquiries- can go so many directions and provide so many developmentally enriching activities. The possibilities are endless.
On Wednesday morning, we started our meeting by having the OAD’s brainstorm a name for our new friend (“Judy” and “Mr. Smarty Pants” were among my favorites). I hoped that we could post our name ideas outside the classroom and have children and grown-ups from all over the school vote. This might have ended up being a fun community building (and early math) activity, but unfortunately… As sometimes happens with wild living things, our caterpillar went mysteriously missing (one OAD conspiracy is that his butterfly family helped him escape).
Back to my first comment in this blog. We didn’t finish this project out the way that I’d hoped, but the experience was worth it. We should all be so proud of our OAD’s for how respectful and careful they were with our little friend. Maybe there will be more bug or animal guests in the Older All Days classroom’s future!
Link to September photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yU8Rn31rAseFKBRk7