– To design and build a garden for our Kindergarten students to enjoy within their outdoor space
– To provide opportunities that will spark students to ask questions (i.e., how plants grow, what plants need, why bees are important, why worms are good for soil and plants, etc.)
– To instil a love for nature, its beauty and the importance of protecting it
– To provide students with the opportunity to document what they observe within the garden by measuring the height of plants, counting flowers and leaves, comparing the colours and sizes of various plants, etc.
– To foster independence as they care for the garden by watering it each day
– To provide a place that students can visit each day that brings them happiness, comfort and joy
At St. Kateri, the Kindergarten students have a limited amount of space to play and explore. The students began an inquiry about seeds in the fall after visiting a local farm and learning about pumpkins and apples. We wanted our young students to develop new skills and learn about science and nature by growing and planting their own gardens. We began planting beans in our classroom, and each child had a chance to water them. They were amazed at how quickly they grew! They began drawing and labelling their observations (i.e., how many cubes high they were, parts of the plant, etc.). We asked our students if they would be interested in having a garden of their own in our outdoor Kindergarten enclosure. We were not surprised by their reaction. They wanted to get started right away! We began planning the size and location of our garden, ensuring that it had enough sunlight. We discussed what plants need (water, soil, sun, love) and that each child would need to commit to taking care of them. We planned for a raised garden box (approximately 4 x 8 ft), and in order to save costs and ensure that it was built to last, my handy husband and son worked together to build it. Once it arrived, the students helped shovel soil and fill the garden box. They planted various seeds but knew that we would have to wait until the frost was gone to plant plants and flowers. When the day arrived, we explained that some plants would return each year, whereas other plants would need to be replaced every Spring. The students helped decide where each would be placed and took turns preparing the soil, digging holes, planting and watering.
Reflection & Celebration
The garden is now complete and students are doing a terrific job caring for it. Each day, students sit along the ledge and look for insects and worms. They can be seen smelling the various flowers, including lavender and petunias. They are heard commenting on the beauty and changes they see within the garden and how it reminds them of a colourful rainbow. Students are learning about the pollinators that will soon be visiting our garden and the important services they provide for our planet. Our garden has inspired students to become involved with gardening at home. Students have been involved throughout the entire process and have gained a sense of pride as they visit the garden each day. We celebrate this gift we have been granted and look forward to watching our garden grow and change in the coming months. We are blessed to see the wonder and awe this garden brings to our young students. It is a wonderful addition to our school and something that the whole community can enjoy year after year.