I've been watching the miracle unfold for a few years now and I never cease to be amazed. The butterfly life cycle is one of my favorite lessons to teach for so many reasons.
I love watching the kids become so interested in the smallest and quietest of creatures. They are connected somehow in ways I don't understand. Kindergarten kids are both small and hungry, but they are certainly not quiet!
Are they so interested because the changes happen so quickly? Actually now that I think about it, even though they might not see it, those kindergarten kids and those caterpillars have quite a lot in common.
Those little kindergarteners crawled in here in September and even though they don't know it, the changes I've seen in them happened quickly too.
There were the ones that couldn't identify a single letter and are now decoding words. Those that couldn't even write their names, are now writing sentences. There are those that were already decoding words and now they are reading like they've been doing it their entire lives...all 6 years of it! Then there's the one that wouldn't let go of his daddy's leg on the first day of school. Just a few short months later he runs down the hall each morning to meet his friends and bring his smiling face into my room.
Our caterpillars emerged from their chrysalises early this week and today we made our way out to the grass to let them go. The kids all sat in a circle around the butterfly house. I gave them directions about not chasing them and letting them fly off to find a flower, that it was time to say good-bye.
I opened the house so they could make their escape. Some took off right away, flying off to find their flowers, some lingered a little and needed a little coaxing to fly up and out. Then there were those who struggled a little that needed a hand to pick it up and let it know that it was really okay to fly away, and there was one, who's wings just didn't do what they were supposed to. I gently picked that one up and found a flower. I gently placed it on the flower and let nature take over.
Now we are fourteen days away from the last day of school. The day I'll open up the doors for my kindergarteners for for the last time before sending them off to summer and then in the fall, their first grade teachers. Like those butterflies some are ready to fly, and some are going to need a little coaxing to know that it's really okay to spread their wings and leave the safety and comfort of my kindergarten classroom.
As I opened the butterfly house today to let them go, one of my little girls yelled, "I'm not ready!"
Sweet pea, I know just how you feel.