Leadership and innovation is encouraged at our school. Witness the parent-led garden crusade. I believe the spirit of entrepeneurship often trickles down to kids. When faced with a school or community problem, it’s not uncommon for my son to suggest we just “write a grant” for that.
Fifth grade Avery recently told her Mom (Marisa, garden conspirator) that she’d really like to start an “entomology club.” She told her teacher too, and of course, I also heard about. Everyone encouraged her to run with her idea, so she gave a short speech to the class and invited friends to join her in a quest to understand the insect life in our garden.
I had some grant money left over for garden curriculum so I immediately ordered her some fieldguides, viewing chambers, and even some goggles that make you see the world through the compound eyes of a fly.
Meanwhile my six-year old son took a one-hour drawing class with Marisa during our enrichment afternoons at school called University of Wednesday. In one short lesson on “foreshortening” he came home and drew a castle. Next thing you know….Marisa and I have arranged to get together once a week. She and Elliot are going to sit down and do pencil drawings; Avery and I are going to talk entomology. It’s a creative trade of time and talent, and I like the idea of two moms bartering for their kids’ enrichment.
This week some kids saw a “big, green worm” at recess and apparently wanted to squish it. Avery and bug friends intervened and put it in a viewing chamber. I met with the kids to ID the little guy in our big reference book and, like detectives, they took me to where they found it, confirming that it was a swallowtail caterpillar based not only on markings but also by its cherry tree host. All this learning in the garden before the bell even rung! That night it transformed into a chrysalis, and Avery is now fiercely guarding it in the fifth grade classroom and teaching her peers about respecting wildlife in the garden. Bonus: turns out swallowtails are her favorite!
Here are some of the members of the bug club. No, they don’t always look like this—today was picture day!