Having just arrived back from a most enchanting encounter with a swallowtail butterfly ( the colouful being danced from flower to flower coming right up close, kissing my fingers with it’s fragile wings before fluttering off gracefully into the forest). I set about down loading my photos. What a great use of technology I think to myself.
Minutes later a Ted Talk appears in my news feed “Preschoolers and Technology” by Marli Hoffman. My heart sank as I watched children as young as two counting by using the touch screen. Here is the video:
Near the end of the talk Marli discusses the butterfly life cycle and how a video clip of the metamorphosis inspired a grader to dress up as a bug for a dance and how boring it is for youngsters to learn the life cycle through a book…( it would not be boring if that was your only access to learning! ) indeed I agree; but there is a more intimate way to make metamorphosis come to life, literally – without introducing preschools and early graders to technology, such as computers and tablets.
I have just finished a most magical 3 week visit to an urban school where we learned about the life cycle of a butterfly, and it’s habitat, and how we can protect it, through hands on creative exploration.
We brought butterfly eggs in to the classroom to watch them hatch into caterpillars: the excited students fed the caterpillars and watched them, over the coming days, transform into chrysalises; then finally into butterflies, which they then released.
During these weeks of learning we went on nature walks to see signs of caterpillars (munched on leaves) brought the leaves back and started to create our very own butterfly life cycle mobile depicting all the stages.
We made caterpillars with beads and chrysalis from cones; to finish our mobile we completed the “cycle” with beautiful, oil pastel butterflies.
We then performed the life cycle through dance and movement…some students were the caterpillar, others were the grass and wind and the habitat that the butterfly needs to grow and flourish in, and others were the butterflies. As you can see from the photos.
This project came about through IMAGINATION
I was inspired by a beautiful piece of music by Jon Sherman – “Butterfly Blue” – a song about the endangered butterfly – he wrote this piece to raise awareness of the importance of the butterflies habitat…this captured my heart, and I imagined the students dancing the butterfly cycle and celebrating its beauty, wonder and life – it’s interconnectedness with all life.
Sadly technology is stealing from much of our time in the natural world. Surely we must use technology to enhance the learning of our children at an appropriate age. Preschools in my opinion do not need technology to aid their learning, let nature be the teacher…I believe these rich authentic creative explorations have a lasting effect on the students, nurturing an understanding of life, habitat, wonder and love and respect.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is a fantastic tool in the right hands at an appropriate age.
Marli Hoffamn is an enthusiastic educator promoting a success she experienced and wished to share. And here I am doing the same.
In the end, it is all about choices and what we as individuals believe is the best for the children in our lives.
What I know and share comes from my own personal experiences, the butterfly life cycle is just one example of the infinite possibilities of playful learning that nature can offer.
I leave you with a short video I made: To Learn, To Wonder
I hope you will consider more nature and art over technology, with love and deep appreciation Marghanita x
You can find out more about Nature Art here: NATURE ART PROGRAM