From birth, children demonstrate an enthusiasm to learn, be creative and possess an extreme curiosity about their world. Whilst exploring the playground the children in Pre Kinder discovered some caterpillars climbing on the leaves of our citrus trees. After collecting some of these caterpillars and doing some research we discovered that they were the caterpillars of the Dainty Swallowtail Butterfly. These caterpillars are only found in Australia and are very fond of eating either mandarin or lemon tree leaves.
The children were all very excited about watching as the caterpillars turn into Swallowtail butterflies. As part of this experience the children got to choose names for the caterpillars, they chose Robbie, Arnie, Sally, Pick-a-Boo, Prickles and Happy. There have been many conversations happening about butterflies and caterpillars and some of the comments have included “they eat leaves”, “Its sleeping”, “Do they have ears”, “Wow its moving”.
After waiting very patiently the children observed the caterpillars making their cocoons, and then ‘Sleeping’ until one morning when all of a sudden a Dainty Swallowtail slowly began making its way out of the cocoon. The children released the butterfly back into the garden it came from and eagerly await for the remainder of our cocoons to produce more beautiful butterflies!
What a lovely (and lucky!) way for our children to learn first-hand the lifecycle of a Butterfly. We have learned so much about the connections between caterpillars and butterflies and the dramatic change that occurs within the cocoon!