The Importance of Teaching Early Years Children About Insects
Insects are a significant workforce that keeps the world running and they play an important role in our natural world. Helping children learn about the world around them and the environment helps provide a good basis for early childhood development. National Insect Week is a celebration of the ‘little things that run the world’ and will be celebrated from the 20th of June – 26th of June 2022.
This week-long celebration of minibeasts aims to quell the fear of insects to help people around the world understand their importance and role in our ecosystem. That’s why today we will be discussing the importance of teaching early years children about insects.
Why is it Important to Teach Children About Insects?
It is no surprise that children are naturally interested and curious about insects. It is how we respond to curiosity that is vital. Adults can often err on the side of caution when responding to a child’s inquisitiveness when discussing insects, and this can be disheartening and imply that insects are scary and dangerous.
It is important that children grow up with the knowledge, experience and understanding of the insects they will have contact with throughout their life.
Insects are fascinating and provide a wealth of benefits to the wider environment as they pollinate plants and crops; break down waste into fertilised soil; provide a source of food for animals and humans; indicate environmental change.
Understanding the World
Learning about insects can play a big role in children’s understanding of the world. Understanding the World provides powerful, meaningful context to children’s learning and development. This understanding enables children to make sense of their expanding world and their place within it through nurturing their wonder, curiosity, agency and exploratory drive.
Children are remarkably observant because they are continually trying to make sense of the world around them. Teaching children about insects and allowing them to see them up close will encourage them to make new discoveries and observations, and learn new concepts such as Why does this insect look like this? Why does it need so many legs? What does it eat?
Spend More Time Outdoors
Spending time outdoors is vital to children in their early years. Outdoor play offers valuable experiences that can have a positive impact on children’s physical development, social skills, creativity, and learning.
Learning about and looking for insects is a fantastic activity that encourages children to enjoy and respect their outdoor environment.
Teaching children about insects and their habitats encourages them to appreciate nature. Educating children about the importance of respecting nature will impact the relationship they have with insects, for example, a spider will no longer be ‘scary’ but something that catches flies to help contain the population and prevent infestation.
This appreciation will encourage children to think about how they act when they see a spider or worm. They may leave it alone instead of stomping on it because it is ‘scary’, therefore showing an appreciation for the role every creature plays in the world around them.
Having a good understanding of insects may encourage children to be braver and not be fearful or frightened of these creatures. With a newfound understanding of insects, children become empowered and instead of harming an insect will be able to identify it and appreciate it.
What activities will you be doing for national insect week? We have a FREE National Insect Week Activity Guide featuring 10 insect-themed activities to help teach children about the importance of these creatures!