The month of May is one of my favorites as Winter finally gives way to Spring fully. We have beautiful days filled with blooming flowers and trees, discovering worms and insects, and observing how a tiny seed creates a stem and leaves, vines and vegetables.
We LOVE planting a garden. Each year since we live a stone's throw from the river we have to wait until May to plant our garden. If we try to do this sooner, we get a late frost that kills all our plants. Last year the flooding made us replant twice, but this year we are on track for a bountiful harvest.
We have planted pumpkins, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, cantaloupe, sweat peas, corn, and sweet potatoes. With all the little helping hands it is always a great accomplishment for our plants to make it all the way to harvest time, but we usually do!
Our Garden Theme is intertwined into all our learning activities all month long.
There's not much that children like more than digging in the dirt. They can dig for hours...add a bit of water we have entertainment for a week! Not only do they benefit from using their gross motor skills to build up their digging muscles but they also get to work together to find insects and worms; treasures of the soil!
Our educational partners at Mother Goose Time understand that May is our gardening month and they have sent us books, creative arts, math, and science to go along with all our "hands-on" enrichment. Follow our blog to see all the fun and educational activities we have done inside too!!
Gardening is an amazing opportunity for children to learn about the world around them.
It also "provides the perfect combination of skills and tasks to address your child’s development. For example, gardening is a great physical development activity.Young children can practice locomotor skills, body management skills and object control skills while they move from one place to the other carrying tools, soil and water. They will be moving their bodies using large muscles and using muscles to balance and manage objects too. Fine motor skills such as whole-hand grasping and the pincer grasp (necessary skills for writing) are employed in gardening when children use a trowel or rake and pick up tiny seeds to plant. Further, being outdoors in the fresh air and moving around a lot is a good way to get exercise.
Another aspect of physical development is the sensory stimulation that you can experience in a garden. Water is a critical part of gardening and, if your child enjoys nothing else, playing with the hose or the watering can be a highlight. Feeling the texture of the soil or the plant leaves is also interesting, as is the smell of the fresh garden and its plants.
Of course, most gardens are a visual explosion of colors, tones and shades. If you plant edible plants, this is one of the few areas where you can actually safely employ your child’s sense of taste. Children are often more willing to try a new food if they have been involved in the process of growing it.
Literacy skills can be part of gardening, too. Learning the names of different plants and reading what their growth requirements are on the seed or plant packages is a literacy activity. Another reading/writing activity could be making a map of your garden or your yard and labeling the plants in it. A map of the area that you plant can be really helpful when those seeds start to sprout and you are not sure which one is a weed and which is the vegetable or flower you planted!
Cognitive development is all about intellectual skills such as remembering and analyzing information and predicting outcomes. You can do plenty of that in your garden with children. By asking open-ended questions about what you have already done in your garden and what they think you should do next, you are helping them think through the processes of preparing the soil, planting, watering and weeding. Ask them to tell you about the differences between the various plants you are growing or the different parts of the plants themselves. Show them the entire plant—roots, stem, leaves, flowers and seeds—or let them draw the plant at different stages of growth." - Posted on April 24, 2017 by Kittie Butcher, Michigan State University Extension, and Janet Pletcher, Lansing Community College
We are "digging" everything dirt all month long at Woolsey Academy! Follow our adventures here and on our facebook page!
As always, we wish you well and we hope you get to play today!!
These sweet babes just steal my heart!!
Look at that joy on his little face because he found, "Da' mos' pweddy fwower, Ms. Donna!"
I LOVE living in preschool world. Sure...we can corner the market on tantrums, but days like THIS make up for the challenging moments a thousand times over.
This month is all about flowers and soil and growing gardens! We will discuss the roots, leaves, worms, and dirt and EVERYTHING it takes to make a flower grow from seed to maturity.
But first a little prep work...
It took time and patience and TOOLS to prep this soil for our garden this year. It was hard and dry. It was unforgiving as we scraped, hammered, and dug our way in. It did not want to relent in the late spring heat. We had little rain and just the tiniest bit of water made mud fast which was fun for play but not to great for actually prepping the soil!
We learned words what a rake, hoe, and shovel were. We added a trowel and pitch fork to the mix. We beat it, and raked it, and finally it softened enough to mix the fertilizer in and give it a good long drink before adding our seeds and plants.
Next we learned that parts of a plant so we could properly care for it.
Roots, stem, leaves, flowers! This is how we grow!! We learned the parts of a plant and what each part does. We also discussed that each part of the plant has its own job to do and that the plant cannot grow or even survive without all its parts working together toward the same goal, growth! It is the same thing with a school or a family or a friendship.
It takes everyone working together toward the same goals so it can grow. We are all different, but together we make an amazing team!
We built some flowers with all its parts using yarn, pipe cleaners, construction paper, and tissue papers
As we laid all the resources out on the tables we held up each piece and asked, "What plant part does this look like?" They would answer "roots' or 'stem" as they carefully chose and placed the parts on their own papers with a bit of heavy glue!! Our education partners at Mother Goose Time provided a "harvest" (pun intended) of games, crafts, science, math, language arts, and sensory for us to "dig" into all month long and this sweet "Plant Parts" project was just one craft from the above "Plant Parts" lesson plan.
Each "plant" turned out uniquely beautiful and it helped them to better understand plants parts to have some hands-on creative arts moments to determine placement and size.
We added the letter "f" for "flower" and we named it's upper and lowercase partners. We counted leaves and stems of our flowers and we took a walk to the "f" farm to pick some "f" flowers to give little learners some sun, scents, and sensations all around the fields of the farm.
Picking flowers, prepping the soil, taking long walks in the fields and the farms is all part of our days in May at Woolsey Academy for Young Learners!
As always we wish you well and we hope you get to play today.
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com