Creative Minds Montessori: The story of Forrest the butterfly | lifestyle

Diane M Bauso Special to The Citizen

Once upon a time, there was a young caterpillar named Forrest. Forrest lived in a small habitat with his brothers and sisters inside Creative Minds Montessori School. They spent their days eating, climbing and growing.




One day Forrest found his brothers and sisters climbing up to the tippy-top of their home. “Where is everybody going?” asked Forest.

“It’s time for us to make a change, Forrest. come with us!”

But Forrest didn’t want to change, he wanted to keep on eating. So, Forrest wriggled away.



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The next morning Forrest awoke to find that his brothers and sisters had indeed changed, in fact, they didn’t look like caterpillars at all. The nice teachers at Creative Minds Montessori were carefully taking his brothers and sisters out of their home and placing them into a bigger, roomier habitat. Forrest was all alone now; and although he was very sad to see them go, he now had much more room to climb and eat in the old family homestead.

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Each morning, those nice teachers would check on Forrest. He noticed a worried look on their faces, but Forrest kept on eating and growing. The teachers even placed a shiny new stick inside Forrest’s container, and it sure was fun to climb on, but they still looked worried.

The following day, Forest saw the teachers talking and overheard them say, “We are Montessori teachers, maybe we need to model the behavior* for him!”

Forrest did not understand what they meant until he saw a familiar “J” shape outside his container. He remembered that his brothers and sisters hung in this shape when he refused to go with them. So, after the teachers turned off the lights and went home, Forrest climbed to the top of his container and hung just like the shape outside his container.



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Forrest hung and hung but he didn’t change like his brothers and sisters. Again, the teachers looked worried and often checked on Forrest throughout the day. Forrest continued to hang.

The very next morning, Forrest saw the teachers place a second familiar shape outside his container and heard them say, “Well, it worked the first time. … Let’s give this chrysalis model a try!” That evening after the teachers turned out the lights and went home, Forrest got a very tickly feeling in his tummy. Forest was changing!



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He felt all mixed up and prickly. He could hear his teachers talking but he couldn’t see them. Forest could feel his body transforming. “What’s going on?” Forest wondered. “What’s happening to me?”



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A week went by and Forrest was feeling the urge to break free! He started spinning and wiggling. He was stretching and pushing… and then… it happened! Forrest felt his chrysalis split open, and there he was, a wet, crumpled butterfly!



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As he hung onto his chrysalis, Forests’ wings began to straighten out and dry. He could open and close them. Forrest was so happy.

Then you know what happened? Well, those nice teachers at Creative Minds Montessori School took Forrest outside into the sunshine. They fed him sugar water on a cotton ball and talked to him about all his hard work, all the wonderful things he was going to see, and mostly how much they were going to miss him.



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A soft breeze lifted Forrest off the cotton ball. He opened his beautiful wings, and off he flew.



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* “A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of the adults and wants to imitate them. In this regard, an adult can have a kind of mission. He can be an inspiration for the child’s actions, a kind of open book, whereby a child can learn how to direct his own movements.” — dr Maria Montessori

Children learn from those within their environments. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate grace and courtesy to children all of the time. Modeling behaviors in preparation for or in response to specific situations helps the children to practice new skills to use later when interacting with others and caring for environments. As adults, we must do what we expect the children to do and never model what we do not want them to do. Demonstrating grace and courtesy should be true, brief and shown as many times as necessary until the child repeats the skill.

**Nature helps to drive the forces of curiosity and exploration within a child, while offering rich sensorial experiences as well. This is why nature is a vital part of the Montessori learning method. A Montessori education focuses on a deep connection between child development and nature. Children in Montessori schools learn to appreciate the environment and enjoy all that is has to offer.

Diane M. Bauso is Head of School for Creative Minds Montessori School, 169 Genesee St., Auburn. You can be reached at (315) 406-9495 or auburncmms.com.

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