Whatever Happened To Slugs?

Whatever happened to slugs?Β The “slugs” that I’m referring to here are the slimy variety that Doug Peterson was not focusing on in his Sunday morning blog post. As I mentioned in my comment back to him and Andy Forgrave today, I needed to write my own blog post on the slugs that I love, for schema really does have us connecting to words in different ways.

As many people already know, I love creepy, crawly, slimy creatures. Last year, worms were a huge part of our classroom environment, and this year, snails got added to the mix. My teaching partner, Paula, and I moved schools this year, and Dundas seems to be the ideal environment for snail habitats. I told Paula last year that I always wanted a snail as a class pet. The truth is that I had a couple of snails as ones, along with cockroaches and centipedes, a number of years ago when I last worked with Gerry Smith.

The snails even made it on a trip to the Board Office, where we spoke with administrators, consultants, superintendents, and fellow teachers about the HWDSB TLE (Transforming Learning Everywhere) initiative.

While slugs/snails were an important part of our learning environment five years ago, what we were missing then is something that I think is so important now:Β the experience, and learning, that comes from finding them.Β Back in 2014, I didn’t realize the importance of outdoor learning. We went outside sometimes to go on nature walks, to sketch items in nature, and maybe even to do a little planting, but the experiences were limited. Weather was always a consideration. I never would have even suggested that we go outside in the rain. And the part that makes me sad about this now is that I think that those students would have truly benefitted from the experience that comes from this all weather, outdoor learning, play-rich environment.

As much as I wish that I could, I can’t go back now and change my approach, but now that I know more about the value of outdoor play, I’m glad that we embrace it as we do. Weather no longer stops us! In fact, some of our best outdoor play happens on the rainiest days. I think that these tweets say it all.

Check out the learning, the problem solving, and the conversations that come from the rain, the mud, the worms, and the snails. And these posts are just some of the many that we’ve shared through our Instagram account.

Kids show such empathy as they take care of these snails and try to provide the perfect environment for so many living things.

Holding the snail …Β even with its slimy movementΒ … still made me feel kind of joyful! I’m glad that one of our students trusted me to babysit his snails as he ran some laps.

These rainy day experiences take me back to my childhood. I still remember collecting worms on our driveway, and enjoying the feel as they slithered across my hand. Making mud pies, digging in the sand, and experiencing the messy wonderfulness that came with all of this, is what I think childhood is all about.

While I love that our children know about Siri, and one child may have even figured out some snail information with his quick and independent use of an iPad, an electronic alternative does not replace the real thing.

I wonder if the messy experiences from my youth are still a reality for our kids today.Β If not, how might we help children embrace these experiences at school? Have all kids felt slugs crawl across their hands, observed the many incredible trails that they make, and connected around these slimy creatures? Β 

Even with my love of technology, I hope that when it comes to worms, slugs, and all things slimy, that an app does NOT exist for that. As a kindergarten teacher, I get to relive the joy of my youth every single wet weather day, and watch children experience this same joy. On this “whatever happened to” Sunday, I have to ask, does life get better than this?


2 thoughts on “Whatever Happened To Slugs?

    • Haha! Not so sure I could love snakes and coyotes the same, but I definitely agree with your last line. There’s a lot we can see outside (and inside) when we really take the time to look.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *