Preschoolers don’t have long attention spans, but they can remember, and they can get excited. The key to education is getting them to take an active part in the process. The big problem with modern education is that it’s compulsory, and it involves more rote memorization than it does the facilitation of critical thought.
Now while it’s certainly necessary for there to be some level of memorization in education, this is only one color on the educational spectrum. Focusing on it solely will feed into a lack of creative potential. Certainly, mathematics require memorization to start, and deeper explanation later. Both are necessary for fullest understanding.
Getting the balance right is necessary from the very beginning. It’s best to start early with children to help get around accurate, if unhelpful, stereotypes. Listen, children (especially preschoolers) are hands-on.
That’s kind of the point of childhood. No child wants to be stuck in a stuffy room under the authority of some middle-aged person. A child wants to explore the big wide world. Gardening is accordingly a perfect fit. They must be taught to memorize how to plant, and how to water. Then they get to see the fruits of their labors firsthand.
Children, as a general rule, love the great outdoors. Two young boys will find endless intrigues in a common backyard—couldn’t you, when you were little? A pillbug, an anthill, a spiderweb, or a blackberry bush was all you needed for a profitable, fun day. It took decades of life to numb the wonder. Preschoolers are far from numb.
So lean into that. Figure out what kind of plants they like, and which you can grow in the climate where your school is located. If you’re in Wyoming or Alaska, you might have to move certain plants indoors. You can grow a garden with some cups, soil, water, and light. You might just put such a garden in one of the activity areas of your educational premises for a few weeks.
Commonly, preschool, kindergarten, or first grade gardening education involves placing a bean in wet media conducive to sprouting, and letting the youngsters see how the bean grows. This is sustainable, it’s straightforward, and it’s easy. But it’s also downright boring. Do you remember this “experiment” as a kid? Did it excite you, or was it just sort of “meh”?
What’s better is giving children the ability to husband a garden with fruits they can eat themselves. Most young ones don’t like vegetables, but if they can pull the carrot from the ground, they’ll eat it. Also, what child between the ages of three and five do you know that doesn’t like to play in the dirt? Even little girls have fun in the mud.
And when it comes to using water for irrigation--that’s a perfect fit for toddlers. Not only will they love the very act of digging in the dirt, planting the seed, and watering it at intervals, they’ll begin to associate the fun of gardening with the preschool they’re attending.
In addition to helping them learn, you also help them eat healthier foods without any fuss. It’s a win-win from two directions. Children love to play pretend; when they can bring their imagined food prep to life, that’s a big deal for them. It will make an effect on their life, thinking, and maturity that has ripples throughout their whole lives.
So you might figure out what kind of fruits or vegetables your class already likes. If you’re up for a challenge, you might find what they don’t like, as well. The thing to do then is figure out which plants will grow where you are, and find seed collections which feature the sort of flora you’ll be able to successfully husband.
From there, you make it part of the daily routine of your preschool class to water the plants. Give them some idea of how long it will take for them to bloom, or become mature. You’ll have to do a little research yourself, and you might want to let such periods inform your choice of plants as well. Let them have fun, but be in control of the situation.
While you can certainly let the plants grow throughout the semester, only harvesting at the end, it might be better to have regular small harvests, and make a sort of event around it. You can have a “garden party”, put on some fun music, and let the children see why it’s so important to grow their own food in a way they understand implicitly.
Of course, you’ll ultimately do much of the work yourself; so you’ll want to make the whole project one that you can naturally manage without impacting normal lessons. That’s going to require a level of strategy beforehand. Look into fruits and vegetables that are easy to grow, and dramatically evidence their maturity.
This becomes especially considerable if you’ve got a morning class, and an evening class. You’re going to be quite busy as it is, you don’t want to pile more things on your plate than you can handle. Be careful to seek attainable goals, and plants that will definitely bloom locally, as well as in a way that’s properly swift.
Remember that young ones tend to have a very short attention span, and they need to be hands on. But you’re also going to have to clean them up, because they’re going to make a mess--so you need some sort of apparatus in place for that as well.
That said, once you’ve “got the ball rolling”, as it were, you can make preschool gardening a core feature of your institution. This is something parents are going to love, and you may even inspire a few of the youngsters in your class to pursue extracurricular horticultural activities on their own at home.
Get an idea how long the plants will take to bloom, get an idea what will grow in your area, get an idea of what youngsters do and don’t like already, and construct a gardening plan that you can manage across your other classes without too much trouble. Also, be sure to include in your planning clean-up preparations.
Follow these steps and you’ll be able to have snack-time using vegetables from your own garden. The children will be happy to be healthy as they enjoy the fruit of their own hands.
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.
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