We’re in the middle of our modified Summer Camps program right now, and we are really excited to hear about some of the stories coming out of the programs! At one Licensed Home Child Care location, some Today’s Family children had an interesting experience with some six-legged friends. Let’s take a look…
At the beginning of the summer, one of our Early Childhood Educators went on a nature walk and captured some ladybugs for a bug habitat in the classroom. Something new in the classroom quickly attracted attention from the children. “Look, ladybugs!” one exclaimed.
As the week progressed, the children learned more and more about the aphid-eating red bugs. “What do you think ladybugs like to eat?” The children remembered reading some books about ladybugs earlier. “They eat other, smaller bugs!” one said. “That’s right,” the ECE explained. “They eat tiny little bugs called aphids. Ladybugs make sure that our garden can grow big and strong.”
The children also talked to each other about the ladybugs. “How do they talk to each other?” one child asked. “With their wings!” replied another, moving around the room flapping his arms to demonstrate.
At another time, the children noticed that the ladybugs weren’t moving – they were just sticking to the sides of the habitat wall. “Are they sleeping?” they asked. They figured out the answer by themselves, too. “I get tired when it’s cold,” one said. “Maybe that’s why they are sleeping.” Yes, even air conditioning can create learning opportunities!
Eventually, it was time for the ladybugs to go back outside. This was partly the children’s idea, too: they wanted to make sure that the ladybugs could eat all the aphids in the classroom garden. With the ECE’s help, the children used a potted plant to move the ladybugs from the habitat onto a local tree. They were very careful and gentle, making sure not to hurt the bugs or the moving plant.
Some children went searching through the garden for particular plants. “Look,” one said. “These leaves have been eaten by other bugs!” The children made sure to put some ladybugs on these plants in order to protect them from future pests.
This story shows how naturally curious children are – and also how clever they can be! Having the ladybugs present in the classroom meant that learning could happen whenever the children were interested. There was no specific lesson about ladybugs, and the learning happened all on its own. Better yet, the children actively searched out information about the insects, both in books and by talking to each other to see if one of their friends knew more information. Finally, by releasing the ladybugs in the garden, the children applied what they had learned in a real, meaningful way.