Where Did the Moths Come From: The Imprint of the Maker | Gigi Schroeder Yu

With Amber Spence, Christina Kent Early Childcare Center Teacher

The moths arrived mysteriously in Albuquerque this spring.  They swarmed windows, walls, and doorways and their arrival did not go unnoticed by the children at Christina Kent Childcare Center.

Teacher Amber’s Response:
Our class became aware of the moths when they began to occupy the windows of our classroom.   As the moth presence grew, the children became more curious and began requesting their capture.  We began capturing them in glass jars and plastic cups. The children immediately began a discussion on the moths’ purpose for their visit.

Facilitator Gigi’s Response:
My challenge as a facilitator is to help teachers let go of their own ideas and embrace those of the children.  Sometimes children’s ideas seem silly or unreal to adults.  Yet, when we allow ourselves to follow their lead, we are always astonished by their thoughtfulness.  I asked Amber to go back and ask the children, “where did the moths come from?”  Their responses were well thought out and descriptive in both their words and drawings.

Children’s Response:

Jiselle’s Guy In The Sky
J:  This is a guy in the sky.  This is his bucket he is holding and there’s a thing that comes out and all the moths fall out.

Amber:  What else does the man drop from the sky?

J:  Rain and snow.  He lives in the sky.  He’s in heaven up high.

Savanna’s Mountain
Amber:  Where did the moths come from?

S:  There on the mountain.  We’re over here.  This is our school. These are windows and this is the door.

Amber:  How did the moths get from the mountains to where we are?

S:  They fly around.

Amber:  Why did they come to visit us?

S:  They want somebody to be there friend.

Amber:  What is this round shape everything is on?

S:  That’s the ground.  There is the mommy moth.  That’s the daddy moth and that’s the sister and brother moth.

Amber’s Response:
As an educator it is hard to discover the hidden boundary between guidance and control. I found it very difficult throughout the study to avoid telling the children the way in which I would depict a moth and what a moth looks like to me.   As an educator, I want the children to learn how to discuss and develop their ideas instead of reflecting mine. Through this struggle comes a better understanding of the children and of myself as a teacher.

Gigi’s Response:
One of my favorite educators, Patricia Carini (2007), founder of the Prospect School in Vermont said, “that what people make, child or adult, has meaning and importance—that the work bears the imprint of the maker-and that these meanings and the maker’s hand are visible in the work” (p.4).  What we gain as educators by allowing children to develop their own ideas, both verbally and visually, are amazing insights into the world of childhood.  Of course there is much to share about the moth project.  More moth stories are to come in the following post.

Carini, P. (2007). Made by hand. The Prospect Review, 30(e). Retrieved from http://review.prospectcenter.org/

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