Today the children at Tuntable Falls Preschool went up to the Primary School Vegetable Garden and outdoor classroom for our weekly visit and program run by Nicola (our Environmental Teacher).
We start the session by checking our Preschool Veggie beds, watering, weeding and planting. We pick what we need to add to our lunch meal. The children love exploring the huge space filled with produce, seedling greenhouse, a sandpit, chickens, tadpole pond, compost piles, fairies, and a cosy open classroom full of changing wonders and books.
As we roamed around, I noticed a Praying Mantis sitting on the table. Pointing it out to the children, we watched carefully as it walked towards the edge. “I’m good at handling insects,” said Ari. “I’ll take it to the bush to be safe.” He did so very gently, then we went off to water our plants.
Leo was curious and went to look for the Mantis again. He called me. “It’s going all the way up the tree Lisa!” We watched it walk steadily up towards the top of the baby tree. “Look, it’s hunting the insect,” Leo noticed. He pointed to a “Stink bug” that was at the top. “There is a little snail too that he wants to eat,” he noticed. By now, several children had come to watch. Everyone was still and quiet, anticipating what might happen next. “It’s creeping up on the bug,” Juno said. “It’s going to grab it now,” said Sofia, as the Praying Mantis arched its front legs back as if it would strike the bug. The children were captivated, frozen faces watching. The Praying Mantis looked to be menacing the bug, swaying back and forth towards it’s prey. “Uh oh,” said Leo. “It’s going to get it!” Ari responded, “that’s its food Leo, it has to have that insect for lunch.” “Oh….yes I know Ari, it’s true that it needs to hunt insects,” replied Leo.
Once the bug had been captured we all watched as it carried it on a different trail…across the side of the classroom bench. When it got to the outdoor wood, it stepped into a spiderweb.
“It’s stuck”, said Juno. “It could die!” “The spider might eat it,” reflected Miela.
“That’s nature,” explained Ari. They all need to have food.” The children looked worried, watching and waiting while the Mantis struggled to free its back legs from the sticky web.
“Can we save it?” asked Leo. “I just like helping things. I can help it.”
“No. It’s ok Leo”, reassured Ari. “Look, it’s pulling hard, it’s pretty strong you know”.
“Yeah,” acknowledged Leo. We waited patiently for about 5 more minutes as the Mantis persistently pushed and pulled. Suddenly, it’s legs just popped out, it was free!
“Wow. That was amazing,” said Juno with a look of relief on his face.
Yes Juno. That WAS amazing.