I'm an informal educator (children's museum) who works with a lot of preschoolers and their teachers. I always get questions about our live insect displays- a lot of negative ones, but also (the bright spot of my day) wonder and curiousity.
Keeping live bugs is a classic way to provide an authentic scientific experience and practice STEM inquiry. Lately, though, I've been thinking about how we can use them to model empathy and acceptance. Young children are emotion-centered beings, and educators have to understand the message they're sending when they say "Oh, I'm so scared of bugs/I don't like spiders." I ask our guests what bothers them- is it because it looks different? Is it okay to dislike something because it's different? What do you know about this animal?- as a way to unpack base fears and create a dialogue.
We're raising the next generation of scientists, researchers, and conservationists. Live insects are a perfect entry point into child-led explorations of the sciences. So try turning your "ewwwws!" into "oooohs!"