Monarch Butterfly

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We hosted Monarch caterpillar for 1  week at preschool. The caterpillar was found by Celo soccer field. It was carefully transported to preschool for children to have a close observation. We have not had Monarch caterpillar for several years so we were very excited. We have watched it grow bigger every day. We have seen it eat the milkweed and drop many frass on the table.  Children got a small brush and a dust pan to sweep up the frass . Children were very curious about this colorful caterpillar, it was challenging to have them not to touch the delicate creature.  We sang songs to them instead. After one week, on Friday, September 18, we noticed that the caterpillar was attaching itself on a top of the butterfly cage, and forming a "J". We saw it hanging upside down. At circle time, we sang "Caterpillar Crawling By". We pretended hanging upside down like the caterpillar.

The next two weeks, we had to be very patient and as we watched the light green chrysalis. We observed the tiny golden dots on a side of the chrysalis. At circle time, some children got light green silkies and wrap themselves up like a chrysalis. At clay table, we made caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies. We were wondering if a butterfly was going to be a boy or a girl. We left the chrysalis hanging very carefully so that it will not disturb during the metamorphosis.  O. F. said, "It is in a process".

Over the weekend of October 2, I checked the chrysalis frequently. On Sunday night, the butterfly was born! It happened quietly and peacefully. Rachel (a Meeting caretaker) said as butterfly pumped the fluid from the body to its wings, orange fluid dropped on the counter. Rachel carefully moved the cage to the sunny window for the butterfly to warm up and dry its wings.  I left a bouquet of flowers in case butterfly was ready to eat.  Children were so excited to see the beautiful Monarch butterfly on Tuesday morning. We noticed when it flapped wings that it had little black dots on the lower part of the wings which indicates that our butterfly was a boy! Should we call him "Chuck", "William", or  "Jo"?  We set him outside the preschool when we were ready to go on a walk. It did not fly away, so we just watched it moving on a cage. We sang "Happy Birthday" and gave him a wish for a safe travel to New Mexico/ Mexico. When we came back from our walk, Rachel L. walked up to check the cage. The butterfly had flown out of it and it was gone!