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From Natural Discovery comes Natural Curiosity: Meeting a Very Different Caterpillar

As a Reggio-inspired school, Richland’s learning environment is rich in provocations for children to discover, investigate, and understand.  The collaborative nature of our work means everyone delights in contributing to the learning, and we owe this discovery to our wonderful custodian, Mr. Rafael – who took the time to share what he had found with our students.  Enjoy this experience as it unfolded for our JK students.This morning we were delighted to see a very large and most different kind of caterpillar on a branch, brought in from nature by one of our custodians. Mr. Rafael is always finding items of interest to peek the children’s curiosity. We first chatted about the fact that this caterpillar was a creature brought in from the outdoors and that we needed to respect that fact by peacefully looking at our ‘guest’.We gathered round the carpet and had a close look, even using the magnifying glasses, “To get a better look because things look  bigger in them.” We were careful not to touch the caterpillar, as it was perhaps “ laying eggs” or “beginning a cocoon.” We could see the sac forming at the back of the caterpillar. We  were also mindful to look with our eyes since the caterpillar had a sharp ‘barb’ at the end of its body, as a possible form of “protection from birds” the JK children thought. The boys and girls wondered: “What does this caterpillar eat?” and “ Why did it have spots on its body?”One of the boy’s shared that “ Maybe we could identify the caterpillar  in my book”, as he went to get his book about Predators. We looked through the book and determined that, “This book is about other kinds of creatures and not caterpillars.” I asked the children where we could find out what kind of caterpillar it was. Suggestions such as “In books” and “On the computer” arose from the children…..So, the JK students have taken on this job, like scientists, we have decided that we will need to investigate further and find out the name of the caterpillar. Inquiring Minds will look forward to sharing the findings of this investigation, and is grateful to the boys and girls of JK for their insightful observations about this very different caterpillar!

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