The warm season brings about various seasonal and migratory animals, while others emerge when the earth thaws and warms. While on my morning walk, I discovered a moth was lying on the sidewalk as birds chirped in the tree above. I picked up the moth and walked with it the entire three miles back home. I knew the moth would add to their childhood learning.
My thoughts were: saving the moth and the valuable lesson children could learn from an injured moth. As I hastily walked with the moth cupped in my hands, I had visions of books, life cycle, inquiry of moth species, discussions about the food to feed the moth, and yes, I wondered what injured the insect. I got home and laid it in the insect house that the children had been walking around with in hopes of collecting bugs.
Here are the children the week before in search of insects.
I had strategically placed the bug house with the moth inside at the house’s entrance as I anxiously awaited the children’s arrival. I knew we would have many discussions about the dying moth.
As the children arrived, I told each the story of where I discovered the moth, and I intentionally included the scene of the birds I heard in the tree.
Here are bits of the conversations about the moth –
Miss Sue, “I found her while I was on my morning walk; she was laying on the sidewalk – injured. As I bent to pick her up, I heard some birds in a tree singing a sweet morning song.”
Child, ‘Miss Sue, you brought it for us?’
Miss Sue, ‘Yes, I took it to daycare for us to help her; she is hurt. What do you think happened to her?’
Child 1, ‘I know, she misses her family.’
Child 2, ‘I hold her?’
Child 1, ‘No, I hold her.’
Miss Sue, ‘Guys, she is injured; let’s look at her wings. She is not able to move her wings?’
Child 1 – ‘I don’t know, I hold it.’
I gently placed the moth in her hand for her examination. This picture is of her holding it with the utmost care while trying to see if it would crawl.
Sadly, the moth did not live for long and was significantly injured. Our discussion continued wondering what happened to the moth. The children talked about the insects being eaten by birds. We have witnessed birds eating worms on many occasions, and we have also seen the mommy Robin feed her chicks many worms.
Adults can synthesize children to life and death through animals – life cycles, animals who have been injured. Right in our backyard, there await opportunities for many teachable moments. These questions can build out an entire curriculum of learning, and the learning is based on the children’s interests and queries. We have monarch eggs in our backyard, so very soon, we will have more hands-on learning about the life cycles of some insects. In our front yard, we have praying mantis, and the children watch them grow yearly.
May you find time to slow down and learn with what’s around you instead of chasing worksheets.
Lots of Love – Miss Sue