Learning really comes alive in the Cahal kindergarten class at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. In their science lessons about plant and animal life in the spring, the children not only learned so many new concepts and vocabulary words, but they also experienced the miracles of Hashem firsthand. The children planted lima-bean seeds on paper towels in clear cups rather than in soil in order to be able to watch the germination process right before their eyes. After just three days, the excitement began as the seeds shed their coats and roots began to grow. The children watched daily and charted their seeds’ progress in their science journals as root hairs, stems, and leaves all sprouted on the new seedlings. When the plants were ready for transplanting, the children decorated pretty pots which they then filled with soil and took home to their families as a Shavuot present.
However, that is not all that is growing in this unique classroom. Four weeks ago, 12 tiny caterpillars arrived in clear plastic cups filled with special food to nourish them. The children watched with great anticipation as the caterpillars ate and ate and ate and grew for 10 days until they went into their chrysalises for metamorphosis. What a thrill when the painted lady butterflies emerged.
The children developed a strong sense of appreciation and value for Hashem’s miracles in life as well as much responsibility for their living things, remembering daily to water their plants and give their butterflies fruit and sugar water to simulate the nectar they drink in the outside world. After enjoying the butterflies in their nets for a week, the children agreed that they would be happier if they could fly free. So 11 brave kindergartners sang “Shalom Parparim” as they released their butterflies to take to the skies.