Garden Project // Planting Season 2017

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This spring our class had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with a local community garden.   It is important to me that the students have the opportunity for land based learning; therefore this project has been near & dear to me && I am excited to share how our class was involved this year.

 

The community garden is conveniently located on the next block over from our school, which was great as we could walk there in about 5 minutes.  Through the months of May and June we would visit on a weekly basis.    During our visits we were able to participate in some great learning opportunities, such as planting and caring for our garden, creating bird feeders, rock painting, and a variety of outdoor play and food experiences.

 

At the garden, there is a cluster of tables for seated and whole group activities, as well as a dramatic play mud kitchen, and many plots for growing.  The garden plots were lined with paths which helped guide the children carefully through the garden.

Early in the year I met with the garden coordinator to plan our visits and align our vision of what the garden would be for the children in my class.  We accomplished what we set out to do and collaborated to make a safe outdoor space, rich in learning and that promoted a sense of exploration and a connection to mother nature.

Gardening developed each child’s capacity to care and connect with mother nature, but it also nurtured their empathy and connections to the community, especially through the planting and education surrounding our heart garden.

 

In our community we have a history of residential schools, and the heart garden {combined with stories and conversations} was a way to introduce the children to Indian Residential Schools and Truth and Reconciliation.

“Heart gardens honour residential school survivors and their families, as well as the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Each heart represents the memory of a child lost to the residential school system, and the act of planting represents that individual’s commitment to finding their place in reconciliation.

 From the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society:
Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams. 

As the school year ended, I continued to care for and harvest our garden with the help of students from our schools summer program.  && with the garden season now complete, I have been able to reflect on this rich learning experience: the conversations, questions, the stories and connections prompted by our time in the garden.  I appreciate the partnership we were able to create with the community garden and their patient, planned, and thoughtful staff.  There are many benefits to gardening with children & I am already looking forward to next years growing season.

 

@mstinyteacher

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