Leanring about butterflies

Real-life Experiences – Toads and Butterflies!

“What we learn with pleasure, we never forget”

Alfred Mercier

The children have had the opportunity to experience and become involved in a range of real-life learning experiences, observing the natural process of metamorphosis.

The amazing and fascinating changes which occur throughout the life cycle of a butterfly and toad has been central in creating a motivating and enthusiastic learning environment over the last view months, with our children taking great ownership, care and responsibility for looking after our visiting wildlife.

Children learning about butterflies from a book

Learning about butterflies

Caterpillar chrysalises

The Chrysalis Station!

Butterflies on hands

Hatched butterflies

The children observed the transition of our caterpillars, observing their growth and natural ability to form chrysalises / cocoons, before watching them transform into beautiful butterflies. Alongside this, they have observed the slightly longer process of nurturing our frogspawn and toad-spawn, observing the transition to tadpoles, then tadpoles with legs, to froglets / toadlets, before releasing these back into the wild within our local pond.

These interesting real-life experiences, has developed care and concern for living things and the environment, deepening the children’s knowledge about the world around them. Involving the children in these natural processes has created memorable and enjoyable learning experiences, which we hope they will cherish for years to come.

Swipe through the slideshow below to see a toad’s journey from spawn to toadlet!

  • Toad-spawn
  • New tadpoles
  • Tadpoles growing larger
  • Tadpole with legs
  • Young toad in water
  • Small toad sitting on a finger
  • Toad-spawn
  • New tadpoles
  • Tadpoles growing larger
  • Tadpole with legs
  • Young toad in water
  • Small toad sitting on a finger

How does this develop and strengthen learning experiences?

  • This process has provided the children with the opportunity to begin studying nature and wildlife, connecting with the natural world by developing care and responsibility for looking after living things.

  • The children have been able to identify and observe similarities and differences throughout the process of metamorphosis, comparing this to how they themselves and other living things grow and develop.

  • A range of new vocabulary has been introduced such as ‘chrysalis’, ‘cocoon’, ‘metamorphosis’, ‘tadpole’ etc. and a link has been made towards these new words and the actual living thing or physical process, through the real-learning experiences provided.
  • The children have had the opportunity to look in information books and use the computer to find out facts about the butterflies and toads; they have also used the iPad to take photographs to capture the life cycle experience in pictures.
  • It has enabled the children to build upon the Characteristics of Effective Learning:

    Playing and exploring – finding out and exploring the process of metamorphosis, developing curiosity about the world around them and engaging in open-ended activity, such as finding out answers to their own questions e.g. ‘What do tadpoles eat?’

    Active learning – Being involved and concentrating, showing high levels of fascination and paying attention to details, for example the children compared the toad-spawn and frogspawn to kiwi seeds.

    Creating and thinking critically – Observing this real life process enabled the children to think of ideas for example painting bubble wrap with black paint to make ‘frogspawn’. The children also made links and identified patterns in their experiences, such as comparing different living environments and sharing their own experiences of pond life and knowledge of insects.

  • This process has also created lots of cross curricular links, leading to a range of learning opportunities such as observational drawings, going on a bug hunt and recording what they could find, designing and creating insect enclosures, number songs linked to insects / frogs, lots of discussion around growth and change and an interest in becoming involved and finding out about the world around us.

Children observing pond activity

“Tell me and I forget… Teach me and I may remember… Involve me and I learn”

Benjamin Franklin

What can you do at home to further support your child’s learning?

  • Go on a bug hunt together and spot signs of life within the natural world.
  • Have a go at creating a bug hotel in your garden, using twigs, leaves, old plant pots etc.
  • Plant some wildflowers to attract the bees and butterflies
  • Walk to your local pond and see which creatures you can find – could you record these, perhaps take pictures or have a go at drawing what you find?
  • Can you think of any more animals or creatures which go through the process of metamorphosis?
  • Could you find out three interesting facts about toads and three facts about butterflies together?

You can relax when you bring your child to Fit 'N' Fun Nurseries, comfortable in the knowledge that they will be safe, stimulated, nurtured, educated, supported and encouraged.

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