Life cycles are all around us. They are part of us and part of every living thing. Explaining and illustrating life cycles can be an important milestone for children, helping them to learn how better to respect and care for those around them. This can be shown in a large number of ways and can help children to understand and deal with death, births, and everyday changes and growth around them.
Birth is a wondrous event that can help a child to understand where they came from. This event can be seen in a large number of ways. Teaching about the life cycle should ideally start at the beginning of pregnancy. Although showing a birth itself may be too much for young children, older children may find the process interesting and may even want to help in the birthing process.
Teaching about birth can be done in several ways, including allowing children to be active learners during an actual pregnancy, thereby learning as much as possible and understanding the development of a new human. Although breeding a dog or cat to show the life giving process can be done, it is not recommended because of the high numbers of strays and unwanted pets. However, fish, mice, and other fast-breeding rodents can often be used because of their compressed life cycles.
The changes in life from birth to youth are very striking in most cases. Human babies make significant strides in function and ability within days. Puppies and kittens open their ears and their eyes within a week of birth. Rodents often go from hairless to hairy in a week, growing quickly. Fish grow rapidly in size, eating anything that will fit in their mouths at this age.
Teaching children about how life changes as they age can enhance their self-understanding and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions they would not normally ask.
Learning is very important for all life. Learning what to eat, when to eat, where to eliminate, and how to function in the society in which they live is vital to all living beings. Without this learning process, individuals would not know how to respond to others and would not understand that other life is necessary for their own life.
Teaching the learning process can be done through training a puppy or showing a child how a parent animal teaches its young.
Death is the hardest part of the life cycle for most people. This is because losing someone they love and facing the inevitability of their own deaths are painful. Teaching the life cycle and excluding death can lead a child to believe that things live forever. However, teaching death can help them to understand that things do end and there is nothing that they can do to prevent the death of an animal or other life.
Although no one wants for anything to due, creatures with fast life cycles, such as fish and some rodents, can help a child to understand death. Not shielding a child from the death of a loved one can also help a child come to terms with the loss. Although the details of death may be skipped, helping a child to understand that death is necessary may bring up conversations that otherwise would not have occurred and help both a parent and a child deal with loss.
By understanding the life cycle and how it ties in with the human species, students can better understand and respect all life, including other people and other species. Respect is vital to a happy and healthy world, and life cycles can help to bring respect to this world. Every living thing has a life cycle, and by understanding that, it connects all of us.
- baby hand image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com