Montessori Inspired Study of Snails for Preschoolers

Sunday, May 14, 2017

We’ve been getting a lot of morning showers which resulted in a bunch of snails popping up everywhere.  Vito is loving it, now that he’s older, he’s enjoying the sight of these little fellows.  One time, we caught one sticking out my husband’s car.  Vito was excited!  I made Vito watch as I removed the snail from the car, placed it in our disposable plastic container and brought it inside for him to observe (and explore). 

I just placed the snail there on the table and let my boy observe it.  He enjoyed watching the snail move around the container while stretching its body.  He would exclaim every time that the snail hides inside its shell and goes out again.  When learning about animals, and if you have a real subject (highly recommended), allow the child to observe it first.  During observation, he will wonder at the subject, admire its beauty, learn about its behavior and later on generate questions out of his curiosity.

He then started asking questions based on his observation like how do you call some of the snail’s body parts and how do they move.  I remembered that I made parts of a snail 3 part cards years ago for Mavi and I immediately took it out from our chest.  I showed him the cards while we still have the snail in front of us and chose the parts which are more visible (shell, tentacles, eyes, foot).

Using a stick, I pointed out to all the parts for him to know, so he would at least learn where the eyes are or what to call the body of the snail. 
I have this beautiful book, About Mollusks, that I just have to introduce to Vito when he is still high on the idea of snails.  As a child, I never knew that snails are NOT INSECTS, so it is best that as early as now, I’ll introduce the snails as mollusks or as I said to Vito, it is part of another animal family.  Mavi and I did this lesson three years ago (Molluscs: The Study of Snails - Part One and Molluscs: The Study of Snails - Part Two) and it was so good that I just wanted to replicate it for Vito.  So we read this beautiful book, About Mollusks (highly recommended and perfect for toddlers/preschoolers) and then showed him other animals that are in the mollusks family.  It’s a good thing that we had the Farm Families last week, he’s now familiar with the idea that animals belong to certain families or groups.
So here, we talked about each card and once we’re done with the discussions, I asked him to work on the 3-part cards.  These cards are from Montessori Print Shop.
Finally, we talked about the shelter of the snail, the shell.  I explained that the shell is there to protect the snail from predators and the environment, more like a house.  I didn’t have any snail shells, so I took out our collection of shells and mentioned that these are shells but not of the snail’s but they may feel the same.  I pointed out that our shells are very hard, but that of the snail’s is quite soft.

And that’s about it!! It was an instant activity and was not even planned but very meaningful to Vito.  I’m glad that I made the The Snail Definition and 3-Part cards. It was handy to have it ready and so as the book.  We’ll look at snails again once we explore more about molluscs and the animal kingdom.



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