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!
In front, from left to right: a “ladybug” house for overwintering, insect spectacles, a viewing chamber and carnivorous plant kit