On this very sunny Tuesday we shared Eric Carle’s classic ode to gluttony, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Many of our kids were already familiar with the book, which really helped, because it is quite a long story with a lot of vocabulary.
Counting, days of the week, food vocabulary, cause and effect, sequencing and life cycles in the natural world – this book has it all!
Because The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the longer stories we share at LFST, we adapted the day’s format a little to accommodate our group. Instead of exploring the story three ways, we instead just retold the story twice, giving each child extra time to participate in the activities.
We do have quite a large group at LFST, with 10-12 children coming each week, and it can take a little while to explain and model an activity and then ensure that everyone has enough time to participate in the activity without feeling rushed or pressured. We always want to make sure that LFST is a fun, positive experience for the children, so rushing through an activity so that we can squeeze in another one isn’t all that beneficial for the children. Better to do two things well than three things poorly!
We also had a very popular little caterpillar friend help us read the picture book as a group. The kids were particularly enthusiastic about this week’s story – it really does help when they’ve already experienced the book at home or at school, as it often gives them a bit of extra confidence. We dramatically munched and nom nom nommed our way through all the food in the story, and used our fingers to count out each meal.
Then it was time for the felt story!
Each child was given a different food item, and they were encouraged to tell the group which food they had, and how many pieces they had. They then fed their felt food to the felt caterpillar, with much enthusiasm. The creator of the felts somehow put the little caterpillar’s head on upside down, so he’s doing a bit of a funny wave, but the kids didn’t seem to notice. :)
We had some great new vocabulary this week, including cocoon, and talked a bit about where butterflies come from.
Snack time fit in quite nicely with today’s theme! Then it was time for a stamp, and a copy of the book with some extension activities. I like to talk about the extension activities with the parents while the children are eating their snacks, and share other related activities parents can do with their children to build upon the vocabulary introduced in the story.
Being able to take home a copy of the book is such an important part of LFST, as it extends the learning experience for an entire week. Repetition at home really helps reinforce the vocabulary we practice at each session. For some kids, too, participating in a group setting can be intimidating or overwhelming, and they benefit from being able to explore the book in a more comfortable setting at their own pace. Everybody wins!
The group was feeling very jumpy towards the end of the program, so we sang our goodbye song with some full-body waving action, and then it was goodbye for another week. Only two more sessions to go!