Fieldston Lower Kindergartners in both Laura Feinberg-Smith and Lillian Polite's classes are busy observing caterpillars, counting chrysalises, and awaiting their transformation into butterflies as part of an interdisciplinary curricular unit that focuses on the life cycle of the insect.
The unit incorporates language and math as part of the study. Students are keeping Monarch journals, documenting all stages of the caterpillars' development in words and drawings. Math skills are reinforced through the counting of caterpillars and chrysalises. Social and emotional learning underpins the study, as the children learn to take care of the growing caterpillars.
"In this, one of the first curricular units of the year, students learn to work together and organize their thoughts," noted Feinberg-Smith. "Above all, they get to witness the exciting transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly—it's a miraculous thing."
Editor's note: In a case of serendipity, Fieldston Lower assistant principal Rosemarie Buzzeo recently found a caterpillar in a bouquet of flowers in her office. She placed it in a box with a screened top, and when she returned to the office after the weekend, a chrysalis had formed. The now-butterfly was then transported to KLF.