The life cycle of butterflies provides a positive object lesson about transformation and success for children in residential treatment.
“They transform so quick, from caterpillars into butterflies,” exclaimed one young boy, describing a recent education project in The Barry Robinson Center’s summer enrichment program. Raising butterflies helped residents make connections to their own transformations as they meet treatment goals and return home.
Five boys in Michele Young’s classroom spent the past few weeks studying insects. They learned which insects are beneficial and which are not. Their studies included insect art projects and a lesson on the differences between butterflies and moths. And, the lesson became reality when Young ordered caterpillars for the boys to raise into butterflies and then release.
“We raised butterflies two years ago, and I wanted to do it again,” Young said. “The boys have really enjoyed the experience, watching them grow and eat. The caterpillars came in jars with their own food, so we could see them dig into it. And, we watched them shed their skin as they grew quickly.”
Five tiny caterpillars arrived June 28 and transformed into butterflies over the weekend of July 14 and 15. The newly emerged painted lady butterflies fascinated the boys, who were quite protective of them. One young resident cautioned a photographer that the butterflies “don’t like bright lights” like the camera flash.
The class released the butterflies in the Center’s Garden Wednesday afternoon, July 18. Young said the experience was a positive one for the boys.
“The release went wonderfully! The kids and the butterflies did great,” she said. “The butterflies fluttered around the garden crops, and then they soared high into the sky. It was awesome! And the students made connections between the butterflies’ release and their discharges.”