At Central Kids Whaihanga ELC we have a terrarium which is home to our pet snails. Snails are an important part of our ecosystem, and any sneaky snails that we find in our mahinga kai (vegetable gardens), we bring inside to our terrarium.
We have learned that snails have their own personality and are very social! They learn to recognise the people around them and make bonds just as our tamariki make bonds with kaiako or their peers.
Learning about snails through real life experiences is incredibly valuable for tamariki, the learning opportunities are far greater than just looking at a photo. They are able to use many more of their senses to find out about snails.
Our snails help us to learn about other living beings outside of our whānau. We learn about healthy eating habits as our snails can only eat food that comes from Papatūānuku, and we learn about caring for someone who cannot speak up for themselves. We learn about being gentle and how to whisper as loud voices frighten them. Whispering and having gentle hands are skills that take practice, and through our interactions with snails, tamariki practice these skills and can visually see the effects they have on others.