All posts tagged: For Educators

Garden Adventures with Primary Casa

Garden time in Casa is a bit different than Garden class during the school day. We are usually busy working and playing for longer than 30 minutes and there are special work stations that are available to us for more nature play. Our absolute favorite is the cooking station!

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Pollination Nation

This lesson has been in the making for a number of years! Teaching about pollination and pollinators is essential not only because of its role at the core of food production, but also because of the plight of the bees (and many pollinators in general.) In the Spring as the first flowers were opening, we transformed the children into tiny buzzing pollinators and sent them out into the gardens to search for pollen. Because they had been miniaturized, the pollen became huge! Fuzzy little balls of pollen were inside of all the flowers and their task was to collect it. As they collected, some of the pollen from other flowers (which were different colors) fell off of their bee bodies and the colors got all mixed up! Hmmmmm….. is this how pollination works? We pondered this and other questions in this interactive lesson and discussed how much we depend on bees and their work for our food supply. With the older students we discussed what we could do to help. Planting food sources (nectar and …

Strawberry Smiles

Last week was a riotous affair in the GMS Gardening classes! A crop of strawberries presented the best opportunity for eating in some weeks! Every class made the most of a beautiful bounty of lettuce and strawberries with a delicious salad (topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry dressing) and strawberry ice cream. We divided into two groups to create the menu: Aubrey’s group led the salad making, carefully placing fresh berries from our garden on a bed of colorful, crunchy lettuce. My group made the ice cream, filling the ice cream bucket with ice and rock salt and watching intently as the motor turned the cream slowly, but surely, into a deliciously sweet treat. There’s only a few more weeks of strawberry season left, so follow the recipes below to try some at home today! Strawberry Ice Cream Ingredients: 1 pound strawberries 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 2/3 cup sugar Directions Place 1 small bowl strawberries in a food processor and puree. Combine cream, milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat …

The Easter Bunny Visits GMS Gardens!

We all know that bunnies (or rabbits as they are often referred to) like carrots and radishes. This is also true of the Easter Bunny. After chatting with him, he’s convinced us that he most prefers wild garden spaces with plenty of food to eat and habitat for his friends – worm, snake, butterfly, bird, etc. This year, he gave us many many Easter Egg Radish seeds and asked if we could spread this important message to the children: “Plant a garden!” “Make a place in your yard where I am welcome. Make it healthy. Fill it with love.” So, after some discussion, Eliza and I decided an Easter Egg hunt was necessary. Inside of each egg were the seeds so generously bestowed upon us by the Easter Bunny. The kids took them home and we hope that some are germinating now, over spring break! We plan to continue this tradition. After all, the Easter Bunny left us with important instructions and we’re recycling the eggs so we can use them year after year.

Mindfulness Tea

We had some really cold days this winter and on one such day, decided to open the spice cabinet to make a warming and healing mindfulness tea. Thich Nhat Hahn has a wonderful book entitled  Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children that we often gain inspiration from. The children love what Thay calls inviting the bell, and this practice helps them to center and ground themselves. To begin this class we did just that and got down to business learning about the various herbs and spices we wanted to use in our tea. We used a mortar and pestle to grind a some of the herbs to release the healing oils. Many herbs have a multitude of uses and medicinal properties, but we focused in on just one main use for each ingredient we added, so as not to overwhelm ourselves. Together we decided that we liked the idea of drinking a tea with all of these benefits in the gloomy dark days of winter to lift our moods and heal our bodies. We got to …

Garden works in primary

These works take the overarching concepts of the garden and break them into smaller components – comprehensible for the 3-6 year old child. They also offer meaningful work to the child that will allow them to observe and tend to the garden. These lessons lay the groundwork for bigger practical works in the future. Tools and materials for the works are set out in outdoor cubbies. Once a child has learned all of the works there is opportunity for free choice. First, however, it is important to teach students how to do each work properly and how to clean up a work to get it ready for the next person wishing to use it. We do this in small groups of 6-10 children, taking approximately 15 minutes to teach a work from start to finish, and then we give them a chance to practice. Digging Works Trowel control/ digging down: Various size pots are buried in the soil. The student’s task is to use a trowel to empty all of soil from the pots, effectively …