“I wonder where … ” {a butterfly story}

Painted lady

painted lady (photo credit: Marko_K)

yesterday, a little voice said “I wonder where our butterflies are today

out of the blue and so full of wonder for the journey our painted ladies took a while ago. but, while it was an ‘out of the blue’ question, it was also a question that embodies our rhythm in our school — listening to and valuing each voice, exploring our environment (inside and out) and allowing discovery to happen naturally and when it should.

books were brought out to talk about the logistical aspects of the butterflies — they likely had laid eggs and are no longer living but the reality of that wasn’t what this voice wanted. we sat and revisited our observation journal and spoke of how our five caterpillars moved so gracefully from one life-stage to the next. but that also wasn’t what this voice wanted – you could just see it painted on this face, this push and pull that was happening.

{and here lays the beauty of a Reggio Emilia program — adults allowing themselves to listen, to observe, that our space is based on communication and relationships and, above all, that ‘teacher’ is the co-learner}

so, I dove in deeper — what was behind that question? and the answer was simple yet so complex. the want to know what they saw on their adventure after we released them. the want to know if they found the right flowers, did the owls hoot a welcome to them, did they stay together as friends, and how does nectar taste? but, the most important one: the want to know if they missed us as much as this wee one was missing them.

oh my.

so a tale was born. our tale of our butterflies and their grand adventures. the tale of jules, orangie, spikey, harry and tiny — who met a friend who calls himself ‘nair’ and how they met a wonderful owl and munched on leaves and played in the sunshine.

paper from the paper-roll on the art studio table was taped to the floor. stickers, crayons and our bodies all gathered, belly-down and shoulder-to-shoulder, on the art studio floor and we talked and drew and a collaborative tale and drawing emerged. all it took was for this adult to listen and observe — pulling out books on the reality of our butterflies was the first step to this process but, in the end, it was this that was needed. community, connections, acknowledgement that we adults aren’t the ones with solutions but we can be the guide.

I am so happy for this experience and so happy that I did stumble — it’s a reminder that in slowing down, in listening and feeling in the moment, in allowing this little one to be the guide for me to understand, that that’s where the connections and learning happens.

:: when little voices ask questions of you today, can you stop and use all your senses to understand the true question? can you find time to lay, belly-down and shoulder-to-shoulder, on the floor with your little one today and just create, listen and observe together? :: 

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