Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Children Learn in the Garden

Gross Motor 
  • Hauling dirt, compost, mulch
  • Digging 
  • Moving plants 
  • Weeding
  • Picking produce 
Health Knowledge
  • Good/not-so-good foods 
  • Need for exercise 
  • Clean air 
  • Clean environment 
  • Clean hands & bodies
  • Bacteria in the environment 
  • Nutritional value of different foods 
  • Which foods are good for what parts of your body

Here's what I came up with in about 10 minutes last night. 

Environmental Stewardship: 
  • We need to keep our water and soils clean
  • Some plants may not be around if we don't collect and plant their seeds
  • We need the insects 
  • We have to be careful with chemicals so that bugs, plants and people won't be hurt
  • How to keep animals out of the garden without hurting them
  • The natural world is important to protect

Farming/Gardening Skills:
  • How to germinate seeds
  • How to plant, weed, cultivate, amend soil, crop rotation, etc.
  • How to collect and store seeds
  • Companion planting
  • Pest control
  • Different plant needs

Self Reliance:

  • Ability to provide food and natural products for yourself and others
  • Life cycle of plants, animals and insects
  • What lives in the soil
  • Decomposition
  • Biomes
  • Plant physiology
  • Common and scientific plant names
  • Pollination
  • Plant classifications
Environmental Science
  • Composting
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Environmental awareness
  • Insect identification
  • Insect anatomy
  • Pests vs helpers
  • Bug/insect classifications

  • Weather
  • Weather patterns
  • Cloud formations
  • Temperature, rainfall and wind assessments
Scientific Method
  • Predicting - What will happen if we give this one extra water?
  • Discussing - Why do you think that is? What if we give it too MUCH water?
  • Experimenting 
  • Discussing results
  • Comparison to other experiments - Did the water make more of a difference or less of a difference than adding compost?
  • Comparison of size, shape, color, height, weight, growth, etc.
  • Classification of plants, insects, animals, seeds, produce, etc.
  • Counting seeds, plants, rows, produce, rainfall amounts, etc.
  • Economics of how much we save by growing our own food and why - shipping, labor, etc.
  • Estimation of how much items weigh, how much water they need, how much rainfall we had, etc.
  • Equations - If we have 4 blueberry plants on this side, and 4 blueberry plants on that side, how many do we have in all? If we have 4 rows of 4 bush beans, how many do we have in all?
  • Graphing of temperature, rainfall, plant growth, weekly circumfrence growth of  a pumpkin, etc.
  • Measurement of rainfall, shadows, height, weight, circumference, pounds of produce, etc.
  • Geometry - shapes in the garden, building boxes, paths, etc. 
  • Statistics - Did we get more or less beans than peas? Was it a LOT more, or a little more? If they took up the same amount of space, which one is the better producer? Which one should we plant more of next year? - YES, the one we LIKE THE MOST!
  • Time - tracking the sun across the garden, seasons, planning, plant growth, cycles
  • Tracking growth, production, chores

Fine Motor  
  • Planting seeds and plants 
  • Weeding 
  • Picking produce 
  • Collecting seed 
  • Picking up bugs

  • Awareness of even the smallest element in the environment
  • Seeing butterflies, bees, colors, shadows, sunbeams, changing shapes
  • Feeling the wind, the many plant textures, soil vs. clay
  • Hearing the birds, insects, leaves rustling in the wind, mulch crunching with each step
  • Tasting the many flavors of herbs and produce
  • Smelling the herbs, soil, flowers, produce

  • Talking about their observations, ideas, experiments
  • Educating and advising the younger children
  • Discussing and negotiating about chores and responsibilities
  • Asking questions, explaining to others
  • Plant markers
  • Seed packets
  • Graphs, charts, instructions
  • Plant names & parts
  • Insect names & parts
  • Gardening terminology
  • Discussion vocabulary
  • In the dirt with sticks
  • Drawing pictures of plants, insects, animals, ideas
  • Plotting out the garden
  • Observations, graphs, notations
  • What to plant
  • Where to plant
  • What to harvest for lunch
  • What to do with what we harvest
  • Who gets to do what when
  • Waiting for seeds to germinate
  • Waiting for plants to grow
  • Waiting for produce to mature
  • Waiting for our turn
  • The garden must be watered
  • The weeds must be pulled
  • The produce must be collected
  • The seeds must be collected

Team Work
  • Working with others to plant, harvest and care for the garden
Work Ethic
  • Doing your job, even if it isn't the job you wanted
  • Working with your group, even if you would rather go play
  • Handling your responsibilities with a good attitude
  • Crafts for the garden - stepping stones, signs, totems, sculpture
  • Crafts from materials collected from the garden
  • Painting and drawing about the garden

  • Names of colors
  • Comparisons of colors
  • Color changes
  • Observation of light vs. shadow
  • Color changes in various lights
  • Reflections
  • Rainbows
  • Light on different textures
  • Wiggling of a worm
  • Nodding of a sunflower head
  • Wind bending a tree
  • Falling apples
  • Floating of a butterfly
  • Dancing through the garden
Above all they learn...

of which, they are a part.

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