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The Butterfly Activity: How To Involve The Children In A Pre-School Project

Kids Club preschool teachers are very focused on organising activities to prepare our Pre-schoolers for “big school”. They make sure the children are involved in the choice of activities. To create the best learning experience for children the learning is child-led, catering the children’s needs, capabilities and interests. Interest based projects keep them captivated in the learning and strengthen their sense of belonging.

This month we learnt about Butterflies. It’s true: small causes can have large effects 🙂 We brought 2 cocoons to the children that raised many interrogations, learnings and activities!

How can we teach the children about butterflies?

Learning intention:
Teach the children the life cycle of a butterfly using “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” as a stimulus
Children to use their observational skills to observe the metamorphosis of two cocoons turning into butterflies
Children to look at the symmetry and patterns of butterfly wings

The children have been very excited exploring butterflies. We have based lots of the experiences around the popular text, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. They have been engaged in sequencing the story and using puppets and props to retell the story in their own words.

When looking at the life cycle of a butterfly the children were able to draw upon their existing knowledge of the life cycle of a chicken from a previous program (when they had the chance to observe hatching chicken).

The children were all fascinated to read that a caterpillar turns into a cocoon and then hatches as a butterfly.
Marcus was able to explain to his peers what a cocoon was and Isabella described the caterpillar as ‘sleeping’ in the cocoon.

Whilst observing the cocoons in the butterfly garden children were given the opportunity to learn aboutshapes and patterns on butterfly wings and also make their own symmetrical butterfly painting.

The children were also provided with non-fiction texts about butterflies and they learned more about insects.

Observing the cocoons hatch into butterflies, they have developed their investigative skills through experimental learning.

How to encourage the children to engage in collaborative learning opportunities?

Learning Intention:
Provide opportunities for the pre-schoolers to work together in different learning experiences
Encourage the children to communicate, take turns, make decisions and manage feelings
The children engage in collaborative learning experiences everyday at Kids Club.

The children have developed their verbal skills summarising what they learned and have had to use an audible voice for the other children to be able to hear what they are saying.

Also,it has helped developed the children’s listening skills as they have been asked to respond with questions about what is being shown. The children have also been encouraged to use their nonverbal and verbal communication skills by using puppets and props to retell the familiar story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

The puppets provided the children with the opportunity to develop their creative skills by requiring them to use their imagination and either become the voice of the puppet or use the puppet as a communication tool.

Other activities which were created and chosen by the children during free play also led them to developing collaborative learning. New resources such as block trucks and animals were purposefully added to the environment for children to explore together. The children worked collaboratively 
to see how the materials fitted together and what purpose they could have for independent play.

To do so, we planned opportunities for the children to learn together encouraging them to collaboratively engage in play. For example, to go on a mini-beast hunt in the outdoor area. And we found plenty!

Objectives from the Early Years Learning Framework:

1.1 The children are developing their emerging autonomy and independence by making their own choices, tackling tasks and responsibilities and having a voice when collaborating with their peers.

1.1 The children are developing their emerging autonomy and independence by making their own choices, tackling tasks and responsibilities and having a voice when collaborating with their peers.

3.1 The children are asserting themselves in appropriate ways whilst demonstrating increasing awareness of the needs of others

How can we develop the children’s communication skills?

This program has specifically focused on engaging them in activities where they need to communicate and problem solve together. The intentional teaching sessions offered have provided the children with the opportunity to work together to complete activities.

This was evident when the children worked in small groups of 4 with an Educator’s support when creating their caterpillar artwork.During this experience the Educator led the conversation and encouraged discussions amongst the children about what colours and shapes their caterpillars were going to be.

We encouraged children to join in singing mini-beast songs (words/actions)

Objectives from the Early Years Learning Framework:

5.1 The children have been effective communicators by being able to respond appropriately to questions asked and by also asking questions of their own. The children have used their oral language as a reflective thinking tool for explaining all about their toys and interests.

The importance of Child-Led Learning

Educating young children about these topics prepares them for their Primary School years and beyond. Ensuring young children are engaged in meaningful learning will allow for a deeper understanding and more positive experiences, inspiring them to not only have a love of learning but a deep thirst for knowledge.

This is where child-led learning is interesting because we researched what the children were interested to learn about. In the last month they have had the chance to:

Create a butterfly garden for real life experience
Participate in Caterpillar arts/crafts observing shapes
Create puppets and imagined role play
Discover Butterfly symmetry painting
Create our own book about Butterflies
Decide we wanted to research more and read non-fiction texts about butterflies

The planned and spontaneous learning experiences that the children engage in during their time at Kids Club are an extension of the children’s interests, strengths and emerging skills.

If you want to learn more, call Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres or book a tour now of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre, click here to view your closest Centre.

As the leading provider of early childhood care in Australia we always put your child first. We are committed to 7 National Quality Standards.