A Snail’s Tale: Perspectives from Preschoolers

“The greatest gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” – Meryl Streep

First E found a snail.  A short while later, B found one too. The two snails really drew a crowd of followers.  Everyone was curious to take a look at these creatures.  It is quite fascinating to see that when their tentacles are touched, they instantly retract inwards.  Several children were totally riveted by watching the snails.

Here’s some of the dialogue.  Honestly, there was a lot I was unable to catch but this gives you a little glimpse into the world of discovering snails at age three and four.

B says  “I think he wants to go over here.”  (walks over to the climber while holding the snail)

S says “I think the snail… Is the snail was walking, Teacher Cindy?”

Teacher Cindy “What do you think?”

J says “Yeah, it is.”

B has a lot more to say about the snails.  “No they’re saying hello to each other. (pause)  They really take care… of themselves.  His name is Chase.”  (she is referring to the one she is holding)

B changes her voice  “My name is Chase, everybody.”  Then back to her own voice “He has a moustache.”  Then she bursts into giggles.  “Chase is being really funny.”

It was a difficult decision but with some prompting B decided that the snail should stay in his own environment even though she really wanted to bring him indoors.  She seemed really attached to the snail.

Teacher Cindy has a good feeling about this.  Perhaps the beginnings of empathy all start with a tiny snail.