Class Room Garden
Every classroom needs a garden. Children learn a great deal from growing a garden. Children learn coöperation and care taking skills. They will understand plant growth and have a deeper appreciation for nature. You don’t have to have a big plot of land to have a great place to grow a garden. There are many ways you can incorporate the garden theme into your classroom. Also, you will discover how sometimes the best play yards aren’t always commercial.
Introduce your theme through Large Group and Story Time
Before the time comes to plant a garden have the children gather in the area you are planning to put the garden and read stories about plant growth. There are very many fun songs and books you can check out at the library or find for cheap on the web. Here are some examples for great books to read to your class.
Get your Students and Parents Involved
In your second day of unit introduction during large group or small group time create a large list of everything you think you will need for your garden. Spread out a large sheet of poster paper and have each student make a suggestion. Have the children look through books for ideas or look at pictures of gardens. Hang these ideas and “to-get” list on your classroom wall. Send a letter home with the students in regards to the new theme you will be starting. Discuss the books that you have read, songs you have sung, videos you have watched, and activities you have done.
TIP: Tell the parents in a friendly newsletter about the benefits of classroom gardens and how they will add to their child's education. Then create a small “Wish List” and ask parents for some supplies. This will save you a lot of money and allow parents to feel connected to their child’s education.
In Your Classroom
Throughout the week you can hang up pictures of the plant cycle, take photos of gardens in your local neighborhoods and ask children to bring something from their garden at home into the classroom to share. You will have a lot of fun! I have had children bring in rocks, bugs, a flower, and even had a child bring a toad into the classroom. If they don’t have a garden or are a bit squeamish about picking up items invite them to draw a picture at home to bring to school and share during group time.
In the Community
You can even take it a step further and ask a park ranger or horticulturist. You could ask a local tree nursery if they will allow a field trip and they might even donate some plants and flowers for publicity purposes. If you don’t have a local nursery or park ranger in your neighborhood you could also visit a local farm before planting season and then go back around harvest time. The children will marvel at how fast the crop has grown. It is very important children be involved in the community. Children learn best from new experiences and hands on activities and it is your job as a provider to offer an enriching education.
Creating the Garden
Now is the time that we start drawing near to the end of your classroom garden theme, but you still need to create your garden! Each classroom is different and I think pictures can speak louder than words so I have chosen some wonderful gardening for kids ideas from around the web and community. I will tell you from experience that it does take a lot of work and it is a bit messy. But I agree it is well worth it! So what are you waiting for? Put on those rain boats and get to work! Good Luck.
Here are some visual inspirations from an array of wonderful people and community members:
Credit: Botanical CenterI love this little path. This would make a great entrance to your garden area. Start small and add little by little. Creating a unique space takes a lot of time and effort so don't be discouraged if it doesn't look as great as these photos. Below is also one of my favorite photos. Children are always looking for away to hide out and play. What better way to share a game or book then under a hut made of sticks and leaves. This one is very creative.
Some of these projects are a bit harder than others so don't be afraid to ask for help from other parents or teachers and let the children be involved with most of the work. It is the children's classroom garden and it will teach them great skills and values such as teamwork, leadership, coöperate, trust, and problem solving.Credit: Botanical center in Clevland