Why Use Butterflies for Learning?

Butterflies play an important role in educating our young generation, mainly because nature in its whole together with its importance may be too difficult to understand without proper interpretation. By using certain interesting elements in nature such as the butterfly life cycle, children are able to grasp deeper into nature's true offering. Therefore a growing awareness in nature can continue in the children's upbringing by their teachers or parents.

The effects on the children getting close to butterflies and insects have been remarkable and exciting experiences for many children, parents and teachers. Some time ago, a young boy took into his hands a colourful and young caterpillar. After witnessing the process of how this young caterpillar eventually turned into a winged butterfly, he became astonished and stood in disbelief of the great wonder before him, as he came to realise how unique and amiable this tiny creature was. Probably in his life, he has never seen such a caterpillar before nor believed it could even go through such mysterious transformation.

Today, getting children exposed to the natural world is an important activity. No matter how we try to make aware the global threats to the environment we face to a child, physical contact and their intimacy with nature is fading. In recent years, a child once said "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." What we are hearing is an inevitable side-effect of urbanization, modernization and forcing nature towards the oblivion. Nature is now trapped far away where our children can no longer see or feel its presence. This phenomenon, which has been known to us for a while, but difficult to articulate is now known as Nature-Deficit Disorder. Coined by Richard Louv, author of the book "Last Child in the Woods", the book has now sparked a worldwide movement in an attempt to reconnect children back with nature.

The potential benefit that Mother Nature can bring to us is endless when well interpreted. Werner Heisenberg, a significant contributor in science and quantum physics, said: "Natural Science does not simply describe and explain Nature; it is a part of the interplay between Nature and ourselves... What we observe is not Nature itself, but Nature exposed to our method of questioning."

Children are also our only hope. And it probably lies in the inquisitive mind of theirs and what they believe tomorrow will be. Observing the transformation of caterpillars to butterflies not only fascinates these young inquirer's mind, but encourages them to believe the unimaginable nature can offer. Next, if we can show them how they can raise butterflies; this opportunity takes learning to a new exciting level, because the possibility of interpretation and learning using the lifecycle of butterflies, as far as we know is endless.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."

~Richard Buckminster Fuller