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Designing a Butterfly Garden

Recently, some of our SK students, Jerry, Caden and Rafael, began to create a butterfly garden using recycled materials, rocks, glass pebbles, and artificial flowers.  Very early on in this process they retrieved the models of a butterfly, caterpillar, chrysalis and egg, and used these to begin to create an imaginary story.  Already on the light table was an iron butterfly creation.

A butterfly story emerges…

  • “There’s two butterflies. They are daddy butterflies.” (Rafael)
  • “No. One is the Mommy. The Mommy butterfly came back to see her son.” (Caden)
  • “OK.  Mine is really a birdie in a butterfly costume.” (Rafael)

  • Jerry intercedes.  “I’m going to cover the chrysalis (baby butterfly), so no one can find it.”  He quickly hides the model of the chrysalis under the leaves.
  • “The bird can’t get it because it’s a very hard cased chrysalis.” (Rafael)
  • “This butterfly is a female because she has no spots on her wings.” (Caden)
  • Jerry decides on a strategy to lure the chrysalis out! He cuts out different shapes of light blue paper to represent a pool.  “If you want water you will have to come out.” He then begins to bombard the chrysalis with purple glass jewels, and his imagination leads him into fantasy play.  Rafael objects and appeals to him to stop.
  • Rafael and Caden continue to add to their butterfly design, whilst Jerry observes them from the side.

Teacher’s Reflection…

Play is fundamental to all young children’s learning experience. Using the light table in this way helps to develop self-regulation – to stay focused, inhibit distractions, resolve conflict, delay gratification and tolerate frustration.

Here we can also see how designing a butterfly garden using the light table, has also enabled the children to develop imagination, storytelling and build into their play new ideas and concepts relating to their ongoing butterfly investigations.

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