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Butterflies Are Free

" Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you can hardly catch it going." —Tennessee Williams


Karen Stephens, Director of the Illinois State University Child Care Center in Normal, Illinois, shared with us a science project about butterflies dreamed up by Scott Brouette, the teacher in the two-year-old classroom. 

"The class caught some butterflies on our quad with large containers. In the classroom, Scott hung a mosquito net from the ceiling and secured it around a small table to prevent butterfly escapes. Inside the netting, they put flowering plants and water to create a butterfly habitat.  The butterflies were more authentically displayed and the twos could see how they moved and lived MUCH better than if the butterflies were contained in a traditional, hand-held bug jar. 

"You should have SEEN those twos, tilting their heads way back, gazing up and watching those butterflies. Such wonder. The butterflies were actively flying about and I asked one girl what the butterflies did during quiet time when the children napped. She replied, (as if I were rather dense) 'They watch us!'
"After a couple days, they released the butterflies back into the wild."

In addition to directing a really creative center, Karen Stephens is the brains behind Exchange's latest project, Parenting Exchange, our electronic newsletter for centers to share with parents. To find out more about Parenting Exchange, go to

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