Space for Wonder and Sense-Making: Butterflies in the Yellow Room

It has been a special experience to watch the children observe, in real-time, the process of metamorphosis!


As teachers, we did our best to allow space for child-led wonder and discoveries around this process. When these incredible creatures arrived they were introduced in a somewhat mysterious way: “We have something we want to show you. They are new classmates. What do you think is inside? We have been told to care for them and keep them safe.”


Initially, these critters were labeled as snakes, worms, and caterpillars. These wonderful answers show how the children made connections with the long, thin, wiggly bodies seen inside the small cup.


When the caterpillars transformed into their chrysalis, again, there was space for the children to wonder with open-ended statements and questions from teachers, like, “Something is different. Something has changed! What do you think has happened?” The children said things like, “They not movin’!” And, “Where are the worms?”


Once again, when another change had occurred with the emersion of butterflies, the children discovered what had happened. Joyful shouts (“BUTTERFLIES!”) were heard when the children noticed or asked about the worms!


At this point, teachers more explicitly talked about each change the caterpillars had experienced to support the children’s understanding. We are now reading books about butterflies and spending lots of time observing these incredible creatures up close.


This week, we released our butterflies and again wondered with questions like: Where will they go and what will they do? Here are some ideas:


 “They’ll fly to Boston to grandma and grandpa. They will fly fly up high in the sky.”


 “They’ll go to Larchmont.”


“They’ll get tired and take off their butterfly costume and throw their butterfly costume into the garbage.”


 “Don’t touch it, it’s rotting fruit (inside the butterfly home).”


“Are they going to scare us?”


“They’re going to go in here (chrysalis) and they are going to be worms again. The butterflies will become caterpillars again.”