Is your child’s butterfly identical to mine?

When your child brings a piece of work home from nursey or school do you imagine it’s unique to them?

Do you assume that they have done all the work themselves?

Let’s imagine the class topic is The Hungry Caterpillar and the children have been painting butterflies. So they may have talked about the variety of colours, reflective symmetry, having 4 wings, antennae etc.

You might imagine your child drawing the outline, cutting it out, choosing the colours and  the design. That’s great isn’t it?

What I have seen many times is that the butterflies all look the same or very similar. The shape has been precut for them and they may have been directed as to how to paint it. This means the adults can make a beautiful display on the wall and they all actually look like butterflies. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a lovely display but it makes me sad when I walk into a classroom and all the art work is the same!

Beautiful, but identical, templates

This is why:

If your child doesn’t draw for themselves they won’t develop pencil skills as quickly as they could.

They won’t learn to draw shapes.

If your child doesn’t cut for themselves they won’t learn to use scissors.

They won’t learn to design for themselves.

If an adult always gives them the cut out shape they will learn that the adult version is best and they are no good.

They won’t develop their creative self.

They won’t learn trial, error and edit (or failure and resilience).

They won’t have as much fun!

They won’t develop the creative skills that are so important in today’s world of work.

Imagine what it would be like if your child did every step for themselves.  Your child’s butterfly might not even look like a butterfly, so what is the point of that? The point is the amount they have learnt  through the creative process and the skills of doing and is actually what counts at this early age.

They will have:

Practised using a pencil

Drawn a shape

Had an idea about design

Used scissors

Chosen colours and pattern

Used paintbrushes

Possibly made mistakes and altered something

Felt proud about their achievement or

Felt disappointed or frustrated about their achievement

Learn resilience

So, it’s ok for your child’s butterfly to be different. In actual fact it’s better because they are learning so much more.

In Caterpillar Learners classes the leader will show you and your child a template. For example, we may make spiders. The leader will show you the spider he/she has made and the techniques and processes involved. A variety of resources will be available from which the children can choose.

The leader will also suggest to you what the children can do completely by themselves and what they may need some support with and how you can do that. All the way through the session the leader will assess whether each child needs more or less support and help you to give that at the right level.

What’s great for you is that you’ll gain new found acceptance, patience and peace of mind that early learning is in the process and not the end products!

If you’d like to experience at Caterpillar Learners class for yourself you can either book at or contact me on 07941 320527 to book a trial class for your nursery or just a few friends in your home.