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Mobile Outreach Program
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
October 24, 2013
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To all of us who read and are familiar with good children’s books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is almost a cliche. I have not read aloud The Very Hungry Caterpillar in any of our MOP sites and the only reason I felt compelled to do so, is because soon I want to support someone in building stories around ‘math’ and strengthening math concepts through literature. 

So, I planned for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and we set off for St. Inez MOP. 

The  group at St. Inez is growing as I say every week and our space and time there is quite sacred. As Gloria was reading with me, a strange calm befell me and I looked up at Krystal and asked her if she had this atmosphere anywhere else on our MOP sites. St.Inez site has its own specialness. 

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The children absolutely enjoyed the pre-math activity with the number snakes, sang their days of the week song so happily, made a circle and settled in to listening for the Read Aloud time. 

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As we began and as most often happens the caterpillar immediately brings to mind a butterfly, but not here. Not a single child in a group of 30 school going children had stumbled upon the life cycle of the butterfly. Not one of them knew that a caterpillar becomes a butterfly and that he eats and builds a cocoon. They knew about worms and worms on leaves but that seemed to be their life science experience. What is wrong with us ? These children spend close to 7 hours in school rooms every day, an additional 2 hours in a tuition house, all of them have homes where they are loved and cared for, they have parents who labour hard and such a keen desire to learn .. and our system fails them!

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What heartens me is that if you were to stumble upon the life cycle of a butterfly then no one better than Eric Carle and if you are to spend time on an art activity around it, then no better than Elaine and Sheena’s bleeding ink technique to colour the butterfly and bring joy back into learning. 

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