Students at Educare Early Learning Center in Kansas City, KS were excited to finally get outside in their gardens after almost six straight days of rain! I met the students for a quick lesson on helpful insects and pests.
We started by looking at pictures of praying mantis, bees, wasps and ground beetles, reviewing each insect’s important role in the garden. We also talked about why we should only look with our eyes and not touch the busy garden helpers. Moving onto pests in the garden, we looked at pictures of cabbage loopers, squash bugs and tomato hornworms. I reminded them when they find these insects in the garden to tell their teacher and pick them off the plant immediately!
As we started to search through the garden, students noticed holes in their broccoli and collard leaves which is a sign that cabbage loopers are snacking on the leaves. We made sure to look over and under, inside and around the plants. But we didn’t find any of the pesky pests! I asked the student why they thought the helpful insects weren’t out and about. Some of their answers were “It’s too cold,” and “The rain made the leaves too slippery for the insects to hold on to,” and “They are hiding to keep warm in the dirt.” This gave me an idea to hand out hand tools and let the students dig for worms, another important garden helper. After I assured them that worms don’t have eyes or teeth and they are here to help the garden, they felt more comfortable digging and searching for worms!
Here are some great Preschool books that will help continue the conversation of garden insects in the classroom:
Bugs in The Garden by Susan Martineau
We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey
What Lives in the Garden by John Woodward
I love Bugs by Philemon Sturgess
Worms by Valeri Bodden
Creepy, Crawly, Baby Bugs by Sandra Markle