Last Friday saw the start to our spring gardening sessions and it couldn’t have been better; what a perfect day for gardening! It was a lovely warm day and the children were excited to get outside and start clearing out the last leftovers from winter.
Every spring the children spend time making our gardens on our playground look beautiful. Over the years we have come up with a plan that works well for several small groups of children and a parent volunteer or two assisting the teachers. Over the course of one morning, we are able to accomplish a lot and all of the children get a meaningful, hands-on experience! Over the next few weeks we will:
- clean out the weeds and leaves from winter
- loosen the soil and plant flowers provided by our families
- cover the soil with mulch to hold in the moisture
- fix up our animal “shelter areas” and clean food and water dishes
Watering the garden is a daily activity now that the clematis and irises are in bloom. The children have access to water during outdoor playtime and the love to fill a variety of watering cans and containers and take care of the plants.
Our playground is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a schoolyard habitat. This means we provide food, water, shelter, and a place for animals to raise their young on our playground. The children look forward to building places for lizards to bask in the sun, putting out yarn for birds to build their nests, and building hiding places for toads and chipmunks out of rocks and old flower pots. Worms that are found elsewhere on the playground are carefully placed in the garden beds because we know how helpful worms are for the soil, and spiders and insects that make their way inside the building are caught carefully in a special “bug catcher” and released outside.
We keep our bird feeders close to the classroom windows and enjoy watching the visiting cardinals, black-capped chickadees, goldfinches, and hummingbirds. And, of course, the squirrels and chipmunks are also rather entertaining! We have even been lucky enough to spot deer just outside our fence and, believe it or not, are occasionally visited by red-tailed hawks and even a barred owl!
We are so fortunate to have our large natural playground to play on, and to learn so much about nature. Click here for more information on our Gardening Program and stay tuned for an update on our garden in the months to come!