On Wednesday, August 30th, Schoolyard Gardens had the second “Sprout in the Garden” lesson with Plaza Willow Montessori, a local Kansas City early childhood learning center. Schoolyard Gardens staff helped the children reseed raised beds of beets and carrots, and instructed them on proper thinning techniques for the lettuce and spinach planted the week before.
Throughout the lesson, the children were given the opportunity to explore their garden, which is overflowing with banana pepper, tomato, basil, garlic chive, carrot, and bell pepper plants that have fully matured since the planting last fall.
Seeing mature fall crops alongside young spring crops prompted many inquisitive questions from the children about the different stages of a plant’s life cycle, such as “how do plants make new plants?” and “why are there different species of plants?.” One child even asked how the first seed came to be, since each plant can only reproduce if another plant came before it.
Erica Dennington, one of the main garden teachers at the school, brings a class of eleven 4 ½ – 7 ½ year old students out to the garden at least once a week. The remarkable perception of these young children showed the impact of garden-based education programs, which can help children dig deeper into difficult topics that may be challenging to understand in a classroom setting.
Teachers at Plaza Willow Montessori have used the garden as a teaching tool for nutrition and environmental education. Extra produce is incorporated into school lunches, so the children can learn what in their food is healthy for their body.
Schoolyard Garden staff is excited to continue working with this group throughout the Fall and Spring seasons!