While helping with classroom plants, children chatted about pot selections and compared various plant characteristics.
How did a tiny seed of an idea bloom into learning all about plants? When a teacher from a large-city preschool decided to repot the overgrown classroom plants, she noticed that nearly all the children were eager to help. They chatted about new pot selections, compared various plant characteristics, and offered opinions on repotting. The teachers soon realized that an investigation of planting would be a perfect class project.
The teachers felt confident that planting was an exploration that fit well within the curriculum goals and provided ample opportunity for authentic experiences that would address Ohio Early Learning Content Standards. They listed several options for field site visits and the many hands-on artifacts that were accessible. They decided to focus on different types of dirt and to plant grass seed in cups in the classroom.
The planting project brimmed with fun, confidence-building activities. The children played pretend gardening and then moved on to planting their own grass seeds. To encourage the children's interests, the class read books about plants and gardening. The preschoolers started flower and vegetable seedlings for a new outside garden, prepared the soil, and created a seed chart. Taking a field trip, the children spent a rewarding and informative day exploring an Ohio State University greenhouse, where they tallied and sketched the greenhouse plants and equipment, and each child planted his or her own plant. The class's second field site visit was to the lush environments of the Franklin Conservatory.
To complete their project, the energetic preschoolers constructed their own greenhouse. At the final event, the children were able to share their newfound knowledge of planting, narrate photo displays of their work, and show examples of what they had grown.