Jess, the Middle School science teacher, gifted us what we thought were only two Hawk Moth cocoons. Mid week, we noticed that one had hatched near dismissal time. The class decided to leave the container open, outside overnight for the hope that it would fly away and return to its natural habitat.
Unfortunately, the next morning, we discovered that it did not survive over the course of the night. The children were saddened and worried about the other cocoon. This idea of death and closure that the children were focusing on has truly been an on-going theme throughout the course of the school year. Some of these moments include the eulogies spoken at our outdoor classroom for the deceased squirrel (named Jumpy) discovered under a log; the slug (named Sticky) that did not make it on the steps outside our classroom door during the morning stampede at carpool; and the bee who was given a shrine of notes and flowers to honor its life.
In my opinion, loss effects us inside and creates this sense of disequilibrium. The children seek answers to try to find concrete reasons to justify such losses of beautiful creatures. Once their hearts and minds are in synch for why there is a loss to this beauty around them, they want to acknowledge these creatures in a way that makes sense to them while keeping in mind the creature's perspective. I have seen this with each deceased animal they find: owning one's sadness; searching for justification or clarification of death; and then honoring the creature. Cycling through these phases with the death of this Hawk Moth was no different than the closure of the other animals.
The children decided that there needed to be a proper burial for the Hawk Moth, later named Hawkeye. The children discussed their ideas during Morning Meeting. There were several ideas, including a possible Viking send off on a boat down the stream (minus the fire) and keeping it for observation in our science area.
The consensus ended up being to take Hawkeye to the forest with us and do the burial there. The children hunted for just the perfect spot, one that would not be on the walking path and yet far away from the stream not to be washed away. They decided on a little nook between the roots of a tree.
Watch this clip below. I tried my best not to say anything, but there was an occasion or two that I did (sorry). I wanted to lean into the work of the children.
Instead of me diving deep into my observations and interpretations of this clip, I want to leave you with a few of my noticings and curious to see if you had similar ones or additional insights.
*perspective of group as well as the animal
*advocacy for one's own ideas
*looking for consensus for decisions- I heard, "Does everyone agree with that?"
*delegation and collaboration
*idea of fairness
*idea of compromising
*creative overlap (I love this term that I am stealing from Anna)
*a space to change one's mind
*theories being developed
*at one point, there were TEN children involved in this plan
As a mom writing this post on Mother's Day, it makes my heart full knowing that my own three children will be surrounded in a world with others with similar mindsets, who will come together for the right reasons, at the right time, to make peace for those around them. Sometimes in order to create peace, there is disagreement, but always with the intention to understand the other person. Those bumps and hard questions asked is what brings us all closer together, just as it did for this group of children.
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