Saturday, April 21, 2012

Praying Mantises! A life cycle in action - the wonder of metamorphosis!

Dr. Montessori observed children observing and taking care of insects and small animals.  She believed in introducing  biology (the scientific study of living things) to children as they are fascinated and so interested in the metamorphosis and the care of other living things.  Just as Dr. Montessori's philosophy was based on careful and patient observation of children, she believed young children should be directed in a way to discover for themselves the joys of just observing plants and animals.  She also believed that imagination was fundamental to humanity, "Consciousness comes into being as a flaming ball of imagination," and felt observing the wonders of the natural world facilitates this process. 

As always, we prepare the environment for the child. 
We had ordered the Praying Mantis egg case and had been waiting for the nymphs to hatch. 
We were rewarded on Sunday evening and again Wednesday morning with many, many praying mantisis coming out of the hardened egg case. 
We were all fascinated!
The children then became aware of how to sustain these little creatures, they hunted down little insects and helped to put them in the enclosure. 
After a few days we decided to let some go (we had many- many more than expected!) out in the gardens.
We thanked them and sang a little song to say goodbye. 
The next day, more hatched from the egg case, what a surprise!
The goal is to grow one or two into adulthood so the children can observe the metamorphosis (except for being able to watch the live egg case being formed). 

"The metamorphoses of insects and the care which mothers bestow upon their offspring are objects of patient observation on the part of children, and they often give rise to an interest that surprises us."  They become like... "a miniature scientist."  (The Discovery of the Child, pg. 71, 1967)

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