“Does anyone know why we can’t touch the pet turtle?” asked my husband as he sat on the rug in the circle with the children. “Because it has Cinderella!” shared one precocious girl. Despite her incorrect pronunciation, she was correct: turtles carry salmonella and should not be touched.
We did not let the children touch Speedy, our loaner turtle. However, “looking with our eyes” was not enough of a safety rule for our licensing representative. Unfortunately, Speedy could not be an enrollee in our school.
Nevertheless, Speedy’s short time in our school made a big impact on our little learners. A few children discovered that he was attracted to the color red. The children decided to test this theory by offering Speedy different colored construction paper on opposite sides of his aquarium. He always went to red. Upon further research, we learned that turtles are attracted to red food.
We observed and tracked Speedy’s active and quiet periods. We graphed our results with little turtle cut-outs made by the children, of course.
The teachers and I noticed that despite the lack of physical contact, the children became attached to Speedy. One little guy became so upset that Speedy “went on vacation but never came back” during winter break (thanks a lot, licensing representative!) that my husband set up a Speedy Cam. The use of webcam technology allowed the children to continue making observations, albeit remotely, of our naturalistic study of our favorite reptile.
I have personal feelings about how regulatory agencies have regulated children to the point that they are not readily able to monitor their own exposure to “Cinderella.” However, despite the rules and regulations most programs must follow, teachers find creative methods to support children as they discover a turtle’s favorite color is red.#earlychildhoodeducation hashtag#administration hashtag#rules hashtag#classroommanagement hashtag#curriculum