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For Small Hands About the Garden and So Much More

For Small Hands - About the Garden and So Much More
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										   About the Garden and So Much More      Trouble viewing this
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										Practical Life in the Garden 

											_"Under the heading 'Care of Environment' we would include...
										many outdoor tasks such as digging, planting, weeding, watering,
										sweeping up leaves , and so forth."_
										 --E. M. Standing, _Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work_ 

											Spring has sprung - it's time to start growing things!  

											Though lessons in all parts of the curriculum can apply to the
										spring season of growth, we'll focus on the practical life
										activities of growing plants, caring for the garden, and enjoying
										the results. The possibilities are endless but depend on your
										particular environment. Gardens in schools have been shown to
										have multiple benefits for children (gardenorganic.org.uk) - be
										sure to include vegetables along with flowers.  

											Adapt the following ideas and suggestions to fit your classroom
										and school. Planting, caring for, and harvesting a garden allow
										children to use much of what they've already learned, whether
										it's science, math, or writing. Prepare lessons in advance for
										any activity you choose to include, being sure all the materials
										are at hand and that the process works for your particular
										children and classroom.  

											Starting the Seeds 

											Most plants begin as seeds. Even if you eventually plant
										seedlings purchased from the nursery, children like to watch
										seeds sprout. A few ideas follow: 

										 	* Place the seeds (Lima or fava beans work well) between
										blotter paper and the glass sides of a jar. Fill the jar with
										enough water to keep the blotter paper damp. Place in a warm
										location and watch the seeds sprout. 
										 	* Try placing a seed in a clear plastic bag with a damp ball of
										cotton. Each child might have a different seed, so label the bags
										accordingly in order to compare the growths of each. You can tape
										the bags onto a sunny window and watch the seeds root.
										 	* Once seeds have germinated, plant them in pots or in the
										garden.
										 	* Children can keep track of the time it takes seeds to sprout.
										They must also watch to make sure they keep them damp.
										 	* Seeds can also be started indoors in flats or small pots and
										later transplanted.

											Preparing the Soil and Planting 

											Whether you have a large garden or are using large outdoor
										planters or inside pots, preparing the soil is the first step,
										with lots of options for children to participate. 

										 	* Prepare your lessons in advance so you can show the children
										how to turn over the soil, remove the seedling from the pot,
										plant the seedling properly, water it, walk around the plants,
										etc.
										 	* Outside, children can rake away leaves and winter debris.
										They love to cultivate with child-sized shovels, rakes, or
										trowels. (You might have parents or staff do some initial
										cultivation and soil enrichment so that it isn't too hard for the
										children to turn over the soil).
										 	* Using string, show them how to make straight rows for the
										plants. Mark the place for each seedling with sticks or
										toothpicks in the ground, showing children how to measure the
										proper distance between plants. 
										 	* Discuss which plants to place where and why - where the
										sunshine is, how big the plant will grow, etc.
										 	* Dig holes for the seedlings. (Some teachers prefer to use
										seedlings purchased from the nursery for better growth and
										survival.) Children plant each seedling carefully and securely,
										then water with a gentle spray from the watering can. (Hoses are
										difficult for the young child to control.)
										 	* Label the plants with signs and pictures. Children might use
										the seed packets or make drawings of the plants. These might be
										attached to tongue depressors or dowel sticks. Inexpensive wooden
										spoons can be used with the label drawn or attached to the spoon
										and the handle stuck into the ground.
										 	* With limited space, inside planting might include mixing
										soil, planting the seedling, and then sending the individual pots
										home with the children. They will know how to care for their
										plant after caring for the ones at school.

											Maintaining and Harvesting 

											Children can care for the garden after they learn how to weed
										and water properly. At some schools these chores are assigned on
										a rotating basis, or several children can work together. If
										planned carefully, there might be foods to harvest in the early
										spring (lettuce, parsley, strawberries) and then later in the
										summer or early fall (corn, tomatoes, pumpkins). Flowers might be
										picked as well. Organize practical life activities around your
										harvest. 

										 	* Cut flowers for the flower arranging exercise daily or
										weekly.
										 	* Feed lettuce and parsley to the school's pet rabbit or guinea
										pig.
										 	* Wash and slice carrots or zucchini to share.
										 	* Use fresh herbs in the smelling jars. 

											Outdoor practical life activities can continue almost
										year-round, as you adapt the exercises to your own environment
										and season of the year. But best of all, gardening activities
										provide benefits beyond those of practical life. Children will be
										using many of their intellectual and physical skills in
										cooperation with others in the real world.  

											_"It is important to notice, in passing, that these are real,
										not make-believe activities and that they are carried out in a
										real and not make-believe environment."_
										 --E. M. Standing, _Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work_ 

											 -- by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant
										at Montessori Services. She is a trained primary Montessori
										directress and also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She
										has taught children aged 2 to 7 years in Montessori schools,
										Headstart, and also in a preschool for children with
										developmental challenges. In her counseling practice, she helps
										individuals, couples, and families.   

											back to top [ #teacher ]   montessoriservices.com [

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										">The
										article above is from this month's Montessori Services email for
										teachers. To share it (via email, Facebook, etc.), you may copy
										and paste this link:
										 [
										 ] 
										 Below is this month's For Small Hands email for parents. To
										share it with the parents or families of your students perhaps,
										use this link: 
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										Mommy, Let Me Help with SPRING CLEANING 

											"The teacher shows the children how to clean out the little
										corners where dust has accumulated and shows them how to use the
										various objects necessary in cleaning a room - dust cloths, dust
										brushes, little brooms, etc." 
										 --Maria Montessori, _The Montessori Method_ 

											Let's do some spring cleaning with our children!  [
										">
										-- by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant at
										Montessori Services. She is a trained primary Montessori
										directress and also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She
										has taught children aged 2 to 7 years in Montessori schools,
										Headstart, and also in a preschool for children with
										developmental challenges. In her counseling practice, she helps
										individuals, couples, and families.

											back to top [ #parent ]  

											back to Montessori Services Newsletter [ #teacher ]  
										 forsmallhands.com [

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