Bugs and Insects: A case study

For the tamariki at Bream Bay kindergarten, bugs and insects have always been a big interest. This interest really ramped up during the height of this past summer when the crickets were rife and hopping out from everywhere!

At first the tamariki would collect the bugs and insects to put into the bug station where they would be let out at the end of the day. After some discussion we decided that we would do ‘bug watching’ instead. 

"Children are curious by nature and demonstrate this through how they engage with the world. They are eager to explore, question, experiment, and learn about science through the play-based curriculum provided in early childhood contexts" (ERO, 2021).

While the tamariki went on these bug expeditions we found that we had a bit of a problem, when we wanted to research and learn about the different bugs and insects, we struggled to find the relevant information on specific species found in Northland and within New Zealand. 

We could find this information on google but it is not independently accessible to the tamariki so I asked the children if we should make our own encyclopedia. The answer was 'yes' of course.

"By enabling young children to investigate the living world, you’ll help them build confidence, broaden their interests, develop scientific thinking skills, and build knowledge" (Te Papa, 2016).

While creating our encyclodedia, the tamariki shared what their favourite bugs or insects are and what they know about them. They then used images as reference for their own drawings of the creatures. It was then time to do more research using the library books to find out some facts on these individual creatures.

Butterfly- “The butterflies eat food, they fly around and play. They eat, (find butterflies) in the tree, they play on the tree. I think they fly around. It is big, it’s black, orange and yellow and black and white with dots. I think butterflies live at the forest. It flaps 2 of its wings. It has wings, if you have hands you’re a person, you walk with your feet. Wings to fly. The wings look the same, they look identical.” - Blake

Ladybird- “Some ladybirds are ladybugs. Dots on the ladybirds wings; red, black, black, black, black. They have an oval and oval and oval. 6 fintlers (legs). Some ladybirds have dots and some ladybirds don’t. They live in trees, sometimes on doors and BBQ’s and under the BBQ. Fintlers they help them walk, the wings help them flap and they fly away to different countries, Auckland, New Zealand.“ - Annabelle

At Bream Bay Kindergarten we encourage children to notice and describe what they are doing, seeing or hearing. This encourages tamariki to share their thoughts and ideas around a topic, expressing themselves verbally to develop their oral language and further increasing their ability to communicate and comprehend.

Te Whāriki (2017) states that it is important that “opportunities are provided for children to have sustained conversations, have fun with words, use complex language and increase their vocabulary.”

Honey bee- “Bees, honey bees, cause I love them. I don’t know why I love them. Why has it got honey in it’s body? Cause it has. It has legs and wings and pointy things and eyes and nose and tummy. 5 legs. It’s got a butt. It’s got softness. It has brown, brown, golden. They might have honey in their body, honey bees. It might make them do swimming. I eat honey, I eat them on sandwiches. Vegemite. They live in the grass, they hide from everybody. You just have good eyes to see them. If you stand on them they will sting you. Bees used to do that, bees used to do that. When I was a baby I got stung, as a baby at the fridge house and I cried and I cried and I cried.” - Nikau

  Daddy long legs by Clara            Beetle by Amiria             Earwig by Aiden

        Dragon fly by Elsie           Stink bug by Grayson         Cicada by Bodhi

               Wasp by Harper           Bumble bee by Hazel A     Black cockroach by Hazel S

            Centipede by Irie            Preying mantis by Jack             Weevil by Jackson

              Katydid by Kace                      Mosquito by James     Millepede by Jesse

         White tail spider by Lockie       Blue ladybug by Leo      Caterpillar by Lil

          Stick bug by Minty            Caterpillar moth by Lucy       Weta by Oliver

                Snail by Riley                          Worm by Sevy            Native bee by Olivia

               Ant by Tahu                 Skink by Tessa                      Slug by Taumauri

Grasshopper by Vann           Brown cockroach by Xander

Fly- “It has green on it, it has white, yellow, eyes red. It’s like lava. It has yellow on it. It can fly, they cover their wings, dry and then fly cause they get wet from the rain. They live on the top of the ground. They snap their feet inside and then they fly. They close their feet, 4, and then they close their wings and then they fly. That’s the skin, it’s black.  They like crackers, they like all the food. I see them on top of the building tree cause I build it by myself. At the beach and then the crab snap them.” -Tai

Tiger slug- “Tiger slugs live on sand. It doesn’t look like wood cause they will get squashed. If the builder puts it down they might get squashed. It has stripes like a tiger, grahhh. They are slippery, I mean slimy. They are about 1 foot long, 4 metres long. They have these long things on their head, tentacles. They are a bit different, they have no ears, they have little eyes but we have bigger eyes. They do have teeth but they eat leaves. We don’t eat leaves off the trees but they do. 51 dots. I have a book about them but I didn’t bring it.” -Harvey

Crickets- “They dig a hole to the moon so they can be hot, they like being hot. They dig holes in wood, in trees in tables, in legs, in toes. They like to live in the tree house, you find them in the bush and you find the crickets in the sand. They pop out of the sand and they go in the sea. They like to eat rocks, they like to eat sand. They look like black, they have 1 antennae. They have legs, 1 legs, 2 legs, 3 legs, 4 legs. They have wings, they can fly with the wings, they have 2 eyes, they have their tail. They have spikey things on their tail, to kill other bugs.” Ben

As you can see this is a massive body of work and the intention is that tamariki will be able to use this as an ongoing document and add more of their own gems of knowledge as we continue to explore the fascinating world of bugs and insects.

Watch this space!



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