Observing nature


Last week the children showed me a cicada they had found.  They were fascinated by it and asked lots of questions about why it died.

“it was old” one child said,

“the wolf got it” another insisted.

We talked about how we knew it was dead – it wasn’t breathing or moving, or making the noise that cicadas make.

I brought out our magnifying glasses and we spent time looking at it in more depth.

This week I presented the children with the cicada (this time in a transparent container, along with a butterfly which a parent had given me a few months ago.  I offered them alongside the magnifying glasses, paper and pencils.  I was interested in how the children would choose to interact with the items.  I hoped that they would choose to create drawings that would be inspired by what they were seeing, but I tried very hard not to influence them to do so.

It was very hard to stand back and let the children choose how to explore.

I casually offered the materials and said “I wonder if there was a way we could show our family what the cicada and butterfly look like”.

The children decided to follow a different path however.  Instead of creating visual representations, they observed closely with the magnifying glasses.  The discussed in great depth what they saw, and then said that they could tell their families all about the creatures.

It was fascinating seeing the children slow down and really look in great depth at something.  It was also a good learning opportunity for me – a reminder that I should really try to let the children lead.


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