The children at Portsmouth High Nursery School were excited by the arrival of some tiny caterpillars at the beginning of May which started their learning about the life cycle of the butterfly.
The caterpillars have been the focus of a range of activities in class and the children have watched them grow and grow. Mathematical skills were put to the test with accurate measuring of each caterpillar and then reproducing the same lengths using wool to make caterpillars for a magnificent classroom display.
Letters in the word ‘caterpillar’ were used as the focus of phonics activities along with the sharing of Eric Carle’s much-loved story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The caterpillar’s voracious appetite never ceased to amaze the children and they were delighted to enjoy a picnic in the school gardens sampling each of the foods he ate. Art lessons involved looking at the symmetry of butterfly wings and the use of French words to describe a variety of colours has improved using lots of different coloured butterflies. Everything changed when the caterpillars grew very large, stopped eating and became apparently lifeless chrysalises. Before long each chrysalis started to hatch and the children were delighted to see beautiful butterflies emerge.
Nursery teachers Mrs Dempster and Mrs Shaw said, "The warmer weather is ideal for studying the life cycle of a butterfly. The theme has been incorporated into all of our learning goals and the children have been enthusiastic about the activities which enabled them to progress their learning. The highlight of this topic was the day we released the butterflies into the school gardens which was a lovely moment for the children to witness".