The Monarch Project
The preschool children became fascinated with the monarch caterpillars which can be found in abundance in the milkweed patches which scatter the grounds of Surreybrook. The class embarked on a project to learn all they could about the monarchs, their habitat, their migration, their life cycle. As their interest and knowledge grew, we became involved in the Monarch and Schoolyard Habitat projects through the National Wildlife Federation.
Studying pollinators and the monarch butterfly gave students the opportunity to become engaged in and empowered to help solve a current and tangible ‘real-life’ environmental problem. The monarch butterfly is a species that students can have a direct positive impact on that they see in their schoolyards, their backyards and their parks. The study of the monarch butterfly also lent itself beautifully to our project-based learning approach. The children learned the importance of pollinators, developed plans, and implemented effective solutions. They created monarch gardens with native nectar and milkweed plants and Surreybrook became a certified Schoolyard Habitat in the process! The children were able to view some of the chrysalises in the classrooms as they became beautiful butterflies and released them into the gardens. As a class, they graphed the number of caterpillars they discovered each day during their walks in the garden. They observed the changes that the milkweed plants went through from early spring through late fall and planted several varieties of seeds to learn which ones would do best in our soil.