For our classroom, Dorothy, a volunteer with the Butterfly Pavilion's acclaimed Outreach Program, presented their Summer Bug Safari program to the children. Spirits were high all morning in anticipation of the impending visit. When it was time to gather as a group to view the insects, the children sat with rapt attention as Dorothy reviewed the basic characteristics of all arthropods, explained the difference between carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores, and explained the terms habitat, decomposer, and scavenger. Then, she showed the children some amazing examples of preserved exoskeletons.
The presentation began with a visit from a reticent hermit crab,
followed by the largest centipede I have ever seen.
At the end of the presentation, our thoughtful guest took a few moments to ask me about the school and inquire into Dr. Montessori's theories about behavior and guidance. "The children were so well behaved," she remarked (to my visible delight). "Dr. Montessori believed strongly in the importance of instructing children in grace and courtesy," I explained proudly. We spent a few moments discussing how little attention is often given to these skills, despite the fact that most research shows that impulse control, the ability to delay gratification, and teaching children pro-social behaviors are among the most important skills we teach them, and the very foundation of future academic success.
For my part, I couldn't help but think, the presentation embodied the ideals of a Montessori education: our job is to present the world to children in a way which will arouse their interest, curiosity, and admiration.
We would like to sincerely thank Dorothy, our kind and knowledgeable guest, and the Butterfly Pavilion for bringing this amazing program to our school. For more information about the Butterfly Pavilion, please visit their website at: http://www.butteflies.org/.