Friday, May 27, 2016

Herb Garden Adventures

Children are active learners. Montessori principles encourage children to participate in both outdoor and indoor activities as part of the hands-on approach to learning. The use of herb garden adventures inspires children to learn about nature and the natural world around them. From outdoor garden plots to small containers within the classroom, children love to play in the dirt.

Highly trained Montessori instructors aid children’s natural curiosity by providing the right tools to learn about the natural world. Starting from a simple seed to watch the tiny sprouts, each step in the natural process is a chance to learn.

Starting with Seeds
Seeds are the best way to inspire children to learn about the growing process. The germination of seeds can be done in a variety of ways to help children view the emergence of a plant.
  • Begin by placing seeds on a wet folded paper towel or cotton ball.
  • Gently place the seeds and water source into a plastic bag.
  • Remember to place the seeds outward for optimal viewing.
  • Keep seeds moist but remember not to overwater.
  • Depending on the amount of sun the seed bags can be taped to the window to provide maximum exposure.
In combination with the plastic bag process, seeds can be placed into planting flats or small pots to ensure proper growth. The simple process can inspire children to learn about the importance of the sun, water and soil to herb plants. Each step allows children to pursue the activities further with more opportunities to learn. The prepared learning environment may have books and other activities relating to the care of plants.

Care and Maintenance
Along with growing the seeds, incorporating care and maintenance of the plants can be part of the learning experience.
  • Children can track the progress of plant growth. Measuring the height of plants allows students to view how plants are growing each day or week.
  • If transplanting the herbs outdoors, allow the children a chance to track insects in the plant beds. Keeping a record of insects gives children a chance to explore different species within the area.
  • The importance of worms is part of the herb garden planting process. Worms help move the soil which increases air and water.
  • Children can learn the importance of keeping the soil free from debris to allow for maximum plant growth.
The ongoing teachable moments of herb garden adventures can only be enhanced by the children’s natural desire to learn. Each step in the care and maintenance process of the herb plants is a hands-on learning experience. Allowing the children to learn through the use of their senses, aids in the development of cognitive skills, physical growth, social interaction and critical thinking.

Extension of the Herb Garden Adventures
By introducing herb gardening into the classroom curriculum, children will want to continue to learn about plants and the natural world. The idea a small seed produces a tasty herb, vegetable, fruit or a towering tree will peak children’s curiosity to continuing learning. The introduction of composting and the care of the environment can be part of the extended curriculum. The Montessori instructors will observe each child’s interests to help build upon their natural desire to learn about a specific area pertaining to the herb garden adventures.

As a parent, if you would like more information on how gardening helps children learn, please contact the Montessori School of Pleasanton for a tour. Our staff will be more than happy to answer all your questions on how your child can benefit from our children's primary program.

Author: verified_user