Luckily our weather is cooling off, and the children are enjoying spending more time outside. On this particular day, a group of children were plucking leaves from a bush and gathered them in a pile on the grass. One of the children asked for water and poured it onto the pile of leaves, saying, “Look! Water on the leaves!”
We are excited for this opportunity to dive into exploring this topic. Every year we plant in our garden in the fall and in the summer. The children have become interested in plants at the perfect time for us to prepare our Fall Garden!
The children were saying that the “leaves were trees”, and they were observing them, picking at the wet leaves and adding more to the pile.
In order to keep this interest going, we planned for planting that same afternoon. We got soil, seeds, and leaves from our current garden. The children enjoyed putting the leaves and seeds in the soil. They dumped it all on one tray and mixed it all together.
The children were counting leaves and carefully placing the leaves on the soil then burying them with more soil. As they put the seeds in the soil, they said, “We are making more leaves!”
When they went outside, they brought the tray outside and put the soil on the pile they made earlier in the grass, and added water!
When they added too much water, they used shovels to dig through the water.
The children used their own knowledge and worked together planting seeds and “making more leaves”.
We believe in allowing the children to explore on their own with the soil, seeds, leaves and water. This helps them become curious about nature, and allows them to have real experiences with it rather than learning about it from books and worksheets. Research is showing that our children are using technology more and moving away from spending time outdoors playing in nature. We believe in allowing the children to learn hands on as much as they can about how nature works. Through our yearly gardening, composting, and cooking projects we learn about the seasons, what plants need to grow and how they grow, where food comes from, and how organisms work together in nature.
An article published by Dimensions Educational Research Foundation listed the following as the Benefits of Play Outdoors:
• important to healthy brain development
• allows children to use creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength
• allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles
• helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and resiliency to face future challenges
• unstructured play allows children to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills
• child-driven play allows children to practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and engage fully in their passions
• builds active, healthy bodies
• is integral to the academic environment –helps children adjust to the school setting and enhances children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors, and problem-solving skills
• unscheduled play that allows time for peer interactions are important components of social- emotional learning
• less verbal children express themselves through play, giving parents (and teachers) a better understanding of their perspectives
Our project will continue through observing our gardens and experimenting with seeds and soil. We are preparing for our Fall Gardening, and our parents will be receiving the letter soon sharing how you will be able to participate!