All posts tagged: Primary

All Things Persimmon!

Several factors have contributed to our harvest of a bumper crop of persimmons this year. One of those is most likely the honey bees on campus have been working hard to pollinate our many crops and they apparently did a thorough job on the persimmons, which are an early bloomer and good source of food for them in spring. We also prevented any “pre-harvesting,” which led to higher yields. We have been busy in gardening classes and with the middle school farm team (part of the MS micro-economy) finding creative ways to eat and preserve the HUNDREDS we harvested this year. Hopefully you’ve already heard about a few of these from your children or purchased some of the jam, chips, or whole persimmons in the front office See some of our creations below! In addition to the persimmon salad, fruit roll ups, pancakes and 5 spice persimmon jam we also made persimmon salad dressing and ate a lot of fresh persimmons. Look for some of these products at Marketplace on December 16th!  

Persimmon Pancakes

We made these celebratory pancakes both this fall and last as the persimmons were ripening. There were loads of them this year, so look for more blogs on the many many things we’ve done with them. This recipe featured cardamom, a spice many primary and lower el students had never encountered before. They were a perfect treat during the cool rainy weather. One of our favorite activities is making whipped cream from scratch and grinding flour from wheat berries so that the students can see where all of the ingredients came from in their whole form! We used ultra ripe persimmons for this recipe, so the pulp folds into the batter just like jam. You can however, also cut up a firm Fuyu persimmon and there will be little chunks of persimmon goodness in your pancakes. Enjoy!

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.

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 …