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Sunday 26 July 2009

Butterfly time

Having fun!

Episode EightAdd Image

It wasn’t only Knautschi’s children who metamorphosed at the weekend.

Something happened to our children too. To all of them not just one of them.

They blossom, they matured, they grew in stature, they got really brave. They did things that they didn’t know they could do, they soared. A bit tentatively at first, like our newly emerging butterflies from their cotton-wool cocoons.

It has been such a delight to watch.

It was as if they knew, well they did know, that this was their last week together in the conductive group before they start school. Time to show their best and give their all.

Six months ago some of them cried when they came into the “Petö” group, but that has stopped and they started “running” in through the door, all set to have fun finding out what they can do.

Conductive upbringing, in the form that we know it in this group, sadly comes to an end for these littlies when they begin school this autumn. Maybe for some it could mean the end of their Conductive EDUCATION altogether as now it will no longer be paid for as part of their Kindergarten placement. Parents will now need to pay privately, which some can and others cannot do.

Two of the children are going to attend schools for children without disabilities, another is going to the local school for children with physical disabilities. One of the two assistants in the integration classes has visited us many times recently, as has one of the class teachers. Both come with a stream of questions and requests for more advice during the course of the first few months at school.

This will be my job and I am really looking forward to it. I hope that it will be something which lasts longer than the first getting-to-know-each-other period. We already hope that I will be able to go into classes in the mornings and that they will visit me in the afternoons when the children are working with me.

Back to the flutterby fun at the butterfly ball

This week the children really did show us what they were made of and we gave them lots of fun situations in which to do so.

Of course all the time Knautschi was a part of it, doing what he does best, fluttering around now and then, giving encouragement, having a joke and making us all laugh

On Tuesday the cocoons were on the table where they had spend a long weekend. There seemed to be noises coming from inside, sort of butterfly noises. This is what the children said they were. Munching butterfly noises.

We got out the new Pop-up Very Hungry Caterpillar book to find out whether it had anything to say about these noises. We discovered that it was a “butterfly making a hole to get out" sort of noise and low and behold when we looked, there under each cocoon, was a butterfly. They had slipped out of their munched-through cocoons while we were engrossed in the lovely new book.

But what disappointed looks on the children’s faces. The caterpillars were white, they didn’t even have a yellow tinge and black spots like the so called cabbage-white butterfly does. Pure white butterflies: not exactly how we imagined the brightly coloured caterpillars in the cocoons to emerge.

We soon found a remedy for that

What could we do? It was decided that we should paint them, so out came the watercolour boxes and paintbrushes, and glue and glittery paper to finish off.

You can see in the photographs what the children created when eft to their own devices.

Gorgeous butterflies, the belles of any ball.

It was very difficult for these youngsters to understand why the butterflies with their weighted wing tips flew onto their finger tips, but this didn’t matter. Once they realised that their new friends could fly on to fingers, on to fists and noses, perch on frames of glasses, ride on walking frames, sit on top of walking sticks, then the fun started.

The butterflies accompanied them to lunch, all having found a perch somewhere or other.

Catching up

We had a topsy-turvy day on Wednesday as we did what I had planned for Monday. Monday had somehow got lost in the proceedings and then I hadn’t been working in that same group on Tuesday.

Before the butterflies appeared I had planned to make muffin Knautschi caterpillars,. We made them anyway. The children had been calling out for Knautschi the caterpillar all the time so they didn’t mind his reappearance. He has been their friend for much longer than the new butterflies.

This time while we were baking we had enough mixture for them to make a Knautschi each, and also to take caterpillar cakes over to their Kindergarten friends for an after-the-fruit afternoon snack.

You should have seen the mess! Especially after the last drop of mixture had been put into the shapes, when the children knew that at last chocolaty fingers could be put into mouths.

We went through the whole procedure twice, as after the baking we then had to turn ordinary muffins into a caterpillar, also a very messy, chocolaty task.

On Thursday we had a look at everything that we had made and talked about all the things that Knautschi had done with us, and then we finished off with a free-for-all painting of our story.

How did these children change?

Of course they have changed in many ways over the past five years, as well as growing up as all children do.

Recently they have started being very eager to get to places on their own two feet, rushing off using walking sticks to be the first to have a go on the mixer, clambering over and under and walking beside plinths to try to beat the rush, rushing along benches and through rows of chairs to get a place at the table first, standing up to work in order to have a go at holding the mixing bowl or to peer inside as the eggs plopped in. All without being asked, they found their own way and didn’t take the easy option of crawling along the floor, sitting down until the bowl got stuck under their noses.

They were animated and talkative and had a lovely time.

Missing us

One little boy said very often during our work this week that he will miss us. He is one of those who probably will not be able to return to a new form of “Petö”, attending a small group after school.

Perhaps he knows this.

I think he also knows that it is not us that he will miss but the chance to succeed and reach goals that he has set, and going further and further and further. I hope that he gets the encouragement that he needs, the praise and the motivation to set and reach higher goals in his new environment without our conductive input.

I can do more than hope

I can try to arrange for visits to his school and to his home to pave the way for his continued development,

I will leave it to the charity that I work with to find out who pays.

Still time for more fun at the ball

It is not summer holiday time here, the Integrated Kindergarten goes on. The Very Hungry Caterpillar could be out and about again next week looking for some new friends.

I have more orders for paintings to adorn the walls of the numerous offices that belong to our charity, and the corridors in between.

Next week I will have the children working on huge works of art, no more A4 paper for them. They will be confronted with at least A1 format. They will learn to look at the whole “canvas” and fill the spaces in between with something as exciting as the main objects that they paint.

We will learn to paint things all over the paper to attract the wandering eye.

Many children do this spontaneously, they fill the page with colourful objects until there is room for nothing else, others stick to the strip of grass, the strip of sky, with a sun, a tree and Mummy.
Perhaps there will be space for a butterfly or two as well.


While working with the Very Hungry Caterpillar over the past few months I have also been looking him up in the Internet.

When I realised last week that this is the anniversary year of the book and also Eric Carle’s 80th birthday I looked at the official website, originally with the intention of finding out what language he wrote in. I found a delight of information, a lovely blog to read with inspiration for my own artistic work and my conductive work.

Below are a few places to read about the man who loves nature and writes about hope and brings pleasure to millions all over the world.

Hope, i'ts that word again. I knew that there was a partiular reason why I love this book and the children respond so well to it!

Incidently, when I first opened up Eric Carle’s blogpot my very first reaction, even before I began to read, was this could be my blog! As I read the feeling got stronger, it was a nice feeling of meeting a like soul in cyberspace.

Links to Eric Carle

“2009 marks the 40th birthday of Eric Carle's best-selling children's bookThe Very Hungry Caterpillar. In the author's own words the story about a caterpillar growing up into a beautiful butterfly is 'about hope.' Our plush replica is a fitting tribute to a timeless story.”
I shall be getting one. I will have a very special use for it. And it's 10% of!!


Butterfly ball -

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