September 20, 2014
Sometimes learning happens when the components fall together without your planning or even thinking about the possibilities. They are sometimes referred to as teachable moments. But I’m thinking of more than moments and less teaching…just the opportunity to learn. My preschool is located in a church on the side of a mountain; we get to see a good deal of wildlife. However, at irregular intervals of several years, something exceptional happens. The mountain hosts the arrival of Sphinx Moth caterpillars.
When they come (and we never know when they’re coming), they are everywhere! Many years ago, they were so thick on the sidewalk that the children were afraid to go outside. At the time I thought they didn’t want the green goop on their shoes, but it’s also possible they didn’t want to harm them.
It’s been a while since our last visitation and I was beginning to wonder if they weren’t coming back, but this fall they are returning in hordes. My kids love them.
Very few have been stepped on and most of those were accidents. (They can really move along!) When the kids pick them up, they are gently lifted and carefully held.
They are collected in buckets and housed in a small sand table.
We really needed to leave the playground a few days ago (oh, the tyranny of the clock!) but parents were arriving for pick up. There were howls of protest when I said all the caterpillars need to go back on the grass. I pointed out that if their mothers came looking for them, they’d be worried if they couldn’t find them.
As we left the playground, it looked as if the grass were moving!
One boy, however, was in tears at the thought of leaving them behind. “I love them so much!”
Sometimes doing the right thing is hard, but he did it anyway.