The Circle of Life

You’re welcome for putting that song in your head.


My partner, Leon, teaches first and second grade at a Montessori school. First graders these days learn about butterfly life cycles, among other things.

Leon’s class got to hatch¬†a batch of caterpillars, watching them make cocoons and then emerge as beautiful butterflies. This is a magical process, even for adults, so the children were just enthralled. They became attached to their small class pets, and enjoyed watching them change.

Once the butterflies had completed their metamorphosis, it was time to release them. This was hard for some of the children, but it helped that the teachers agreed to release the butterflies into a lovely botanical garden adjacent to campus.

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Eager Class (Faces Blurred for Privacy)


The class lovingly took the five butterflies to the garden and opened their enclosure. The first three butterflies immediately took to the air.

OK, Guys, Here You Go!


The fourth butterfly was more cautious. It was a cold day, and the surroundings were unfamiliar. It waited a while, and the children started to grow antsy. But then it too flew away.

However, the fifth butterfly did nothing. It didn’t even appear to be considering leaving the way the fourth butterfly had. The children were already bored from waiting for the fourth butterfly, and the teachers had an increasingly difficult time keeping them engaged. The class scooped the butterfly out on a flower, and it still just…sat.

Reticent Butterfly (Face Blurred for Privacy–Just Kidding, We Have Its Permission)


Seriously, We Love You but Please Leave


Finally they decided it would make sense to bring the butterfly back to the classroom and release it on a warmer day.

Just then, the butterfly finally made up its mind. To the delight of the children, it beat its wings and rose into the sky. It rose higher and higher. The children cheered.

Their happy cheers turned to screams when two birds swooped down and snatched the butterfly from the sky.

Welp. That’s science for today, folks.




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