KinderGARDEN/Grade 1 project
Our vision was to start a Garden Project with our Kindergarten and Grade 1 students at our small Annex school. We wanted to use the garden beds that were there to teach student how to weed, take care of the soil, plant and harvest! We were hoping to have parent and community volunteers help us out through the Spring and Summer, and continuing in the Fall. We also wanted to infuse more outdoor education and have the garden as a part of that: where the students could learn about life cycles, respecting living things around them, seasonal changes and needs of plants. We wanted to let them explore the garden, play in the empty beds as a “mud kitchen” during the winter, and have a positive association with gardening and growing their own food.
Despite impressive setbacks that happened because of the pandemic, many of our goals surrounding learning in the garden were still able to happen.
Students explored the soil and the treasures that they found within, played and made cupcakes and leaf soup, found bugs and worms, learned about their 5 senses around the garden and outdoors. They also weeded in the Spring and Fall, planted seeds and bulbs, added fallen leaves to the garden beds in order to protect the soil over the rainy season, and harvested radishes and seeds for next year’s planting.
They learned about a small part of work that is necessary in order to grow food and were able to participate in the garden planning for the Spring.
Reflection & Celebration
The garden, despite not being able to plant in the Spring of 2020 and get the harvest we had hoped for, has been a very important part of the changes I have made in my teaching. We spend more time outside, working in the garden, and doing math and sciences outdoors. As the year goes on, I am seeing more and more creativity, engagement and love of outdoor learning in my students; whereas some were less enthusiastic about outdoor time and now they really embrace it. It has motivated me to go out rain or shine with the students…. because I see the many benefits that garden work/play and outdoor learning have had on our classroom. My students love the rain and embrace getting wet, focus better in class, play more creatively and independently, and are more curious inside and outside the classroom.
As this year slowly advances, we also see parent interest growing and have gotten the permission to have a community partner come and help us with our project on a weekly basis. That’s a great win! And very positive for the rest of the schoolyear, as our project keeps growing… 🙂