Well, one day last week as I was walking my children to class she insisted that I come see the butterflies! They had grown them from caterpillars. They were very pretty and fluttering around in their special cage. All except one little fellow on the bottom. My daughter's teacher explained that he was a "special needs" butterfly. You see, he did not fully develop wings, and so he can't fly.
I am SO glad this special butterfly came to be in these children's lives! He has prompted not only conversations with me and my children about all special needs creatures, but also conversations and teaching opportunities in the classroom. I have been able to talk to my children about what it means to have special need, and different kinds of special needs, and how we treat others with special needs, etc. AND they have been enthusiastic conversations. They get it. They understand that he's just as wonderful as the other butterflies. A special need does not make you any less. It just makes you more special! :)
Although I'm sure I knew it, it just never occurred to me that other creatures, like butterflies, can have special needs. This little fellow would have surely been lizard food had he not come to this class. He's a lucky butterfly!
The class released the butterflies a few days ago, but the children pleaded with their teacher not to let him go. She had basically explained to them the circle of life, but their little hearts just couldn't stand it. So, now he's a classroom pet. At least for the remaining 2 weeks of school.