Benefits of gardening for education. Say “hello” to our nature park!
This week we introduced some new plants into the classroom. Even though we have a new nature park, the children are only a little curious about the plants and cacti they see outside, and are not really aware of how plants should be treated. We decided to start out with gardening by bringing in some grown plants into the classroom that will not only make our classroom more beautiful and warm, but also allow us to practice caring for the plants by using soft hands, watering them regularly, and seeing how the plants grow and change. Gardening is a truly enriching experience that provides many learning opportunities for children. Our goal, down the line, is to grow vegetables that we will incorporate into our cooking! We are starting with the basics, watering and caring for grown plants, both for the sake of the children and for ours (the teachers). They will appreciate the project more if they are introduced to new ideas and concepts slowly and get a chance to focus on different aspects of gardening at different stages. As for the teachers, we are all learning together and we need some time to figure things out!
Two of our new plants are a daffodil and a hyacinth. When we brought them into the classroom on Monday neither of the plants had flowers yet, and we were lucky enough that they flowered during the week. This allowed us to water the plants several times and see the progress. We were so amazed when all the flowers bloomed. They were beautiful and smelled great. Considering our children’s age we decided to keep most of the plants visible but out of their reach, and to bring them down to water and explore. We did get one big plant that is always accessible on the floor.
Right now they love the experience of interacting with the plants. We are learning that plants will break, so we need to practice our soft hands, that they require water and food (the soil) so the soil has to stay in the pot for them to grow strong, and that our job to water them every week, which helps us gain confidence and feel a sense of responsibility over the plants and our classroom in general.
If anybody has plants, pots or seeds at home we appreciate donations and would love to incorporate more houseplants to our collection. It would be a lovely experience for the children to bring things in from home to contribute to our growing garden and making our classroom more homey. Gardening tips are also welcome!