Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Gardening with Children

I have the joy of being one of the 'room moms' for Big B's first grade eco-gardening project. On the south face of the first grade building, they have been given a 10'x50' plot of land to learn one of the oldest, most forgotten, yet most important lessons of life: how to grow their own food. Through the generosity of several local business partners (a landscape supply company, a landscape architect, a native plant nursery and an organic farm), our garden has two plots for each of the eight first grade classrooms, with one herb or vegetables for every two kids. There are tomatoes, crookneck squash, cucumbers, collard greens, kale, spinach, lettuces, basil, lemon balm, parsley and more.

The children have been involved with every step of the process, from learning about the soil that was put down to planting and watering and now to weeding and caring for the little seedlings.
Big B and his garden-mate have a little collard plant to care for. They are so proud of it, and every morning when we walk by on our way to class, Big B checks diligently on his plant.
A few of us parents are taking turns watering the garden twice a day, and once every week or so, we step into the classroom and take out the children in their pairs, to check on the progress of their little seedlings. My friend and fellow garden mama made charts for the kids to measure the height, number of leaves, fruit and flowers, and presence of bugs on their plants at each visit.
"Teaching children about the natural world
should be seen as one of the most
important events in their lives."
-Thomas Berry

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