A spring curriculum tradition at The International Preschools is to learn about life cycles. Every year, IPS teachers receive caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae and, through observation, watch these tiny animals transform into butterflies and ladybugs respectively. Although COVID-19 has prevented us from maintaining this tradition in person, our crafty teachers were able to still take part in this amazing unit via Zoom (and their homes)!
To carry this experience out at home, teachers ordered cups of caterpillars and butterfly pavilions via Insect Lore, a website that IPS has used for many years for this activity. Once the caterpillars arrived at their homes, the children would observe the animals daily; some classes would draw pictures of the caterpillars in life cycle journals, while others would simply describe what they were witnessing.
Once the caterpillars moved into the chrysalides phase, some classes made predications as to how long it would take for them to emerge as butterflies. After the butterflies arrived and stayed with our teachers for approximately one week, they were set free!
Throughout this time frame, the curriculum centered around life cycles, spring, and butterflies. Books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle were read; art projects such as butterfly puppets were created. Many classes also conducted discussions about the symmetry of individual butterfly’s designs on its wings; to demonstrate this, children cut out butterfly shapes out of construction paper, painted one side of the butterfly, and then pressed the wings together, created identical patterns on either side of the butterfly’s wings!
To increase participation, families were invited to purchase their own caterpillars for observation, and many students shared their experiences daily with their teachers and friends. It was a wonderful way to celebrate spring and these special creatures!
Interested in obtaining your own caterpillars? Visit Insect Lore’s website!
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