A few weeks ago we got caterpillars to put in our classroom. We were intrigued with the growth that occurred every day! With the proper nourishment, those caterpillars got bigger and bigger until they enveloped themselves in a secure and safe chrysallis while they transformed. One by one the butterflies emerged from their chrysallis, drying and stretching their wings, anticipating their freedom.
This week we let the butterflies go. They eagerly fluttered from their safe, yet stifling environment without so much as a backward glance. Though some of the children were sad to see them go, we had to explain that it's just part of the process.
We have had 13 students in our transitional kindergarten class. For the past nine months they have been enveloped in a protective environment with 3 adults who love and care for them as they learn academics, social skills and how to control some emotional outbursts. They're stretching their wings now, anxious to move on. Tomorrow we set them free. They'll probably leave without a backward glance. There will be mixed emotions as they go, but it's part of the process. They won't leave empty handed; a part of our hearts will go with them.