As summer draws near, Marra Farm is slowly growing greener and taller. The tiny starts we planted in March have sprouted and grown into heads of lettuce and flowering pea vines. In the Children’s Garden, the empty beds have transformed to an abundant garden full of vegetables (and a few weeds).
At the beginning of April, the students planted a variety of vegetables, including bok choy, kale, and cilantro. Each week, the children observed, watered, and weeded their individual plots. Now that their plots are ready for harvest, we are busy cooking up delicious and healthy snacks with their vegetables. We are also learning together about good nutrition, healthy soil, and all the creatures that bring life to the garden.
The young learners don’t just work the whole time. We also play games and sing songs. My favorite song is the leafy green rhythm that goes something like:
“Leafy greens, so good for me. My eyes, bones, muscles, my teeth. Leafy greens, they‘re so healthy, and give me lots of energy!”We use songs and games as teaching tools to help students focus in the outdoor environment. Since they spend most of their learning time inside the classroom, kids often associate being outside with free playtime. Educational songs and games channel their excitement and rambunctious energy.
Using the garden as a classroom allows students to learn in different ways. Digging in the dirt gives students a hands-on, personal experience with the subject matter. Playing games such as “I Spy” encourages their observational skills.
Plus the games and songs are a fun way to engage with the activities and remember things – for both the students and the adults!
Another favorite garden song of ours is “Dirt Made My Lunch” by the Banana Slug String Band – take a listen and sing along!