Pumpkin Extravaganza!


As I was approaching the front gate to Hanna on Friday, I was greeted with some big smiles and several comments such as, “Wait ‘till you see!” and “Lots of pumpkins!” So I was not too surprised, but still thrilled to be greeted by the happy faces of Katherine and Eliana as I approached the entrance to the Garden Classroom. What was all the excitement about? Well, the twin’s mother Suzanne repeated her generous gift of time and muscle from last year and loaded her vehicle with free (to schools) pumpkins and gourds from the pumpkin patch the day after Halloween.  What I missed out on but heard about, was how so many of you and the children helped Suzanne get the pumpkins unloaded and carried up to the Garden Classroom. It must have been a wonderful sight! So I am very happy to report to you the happy results of our “2nd Annual Pumpkin Extravaganza at Hanna Fenichel!”


The 3 Day class enjoyed moving the pumpkins around and onto the climber. They started by working together and placing some of the larger pumpkins up the stairs and into the tunnel. Then they placed as many of the smaller pumpkins and gourds on the steps. It was all about the abundance. These hard workers were pleased by the sight of so many pumpkins! Meanwhile, several boys were busy trying to move the giant pumpkins. While not having much success working individually, they started pairing up and were able to move them forward but not onto the climber where they really wanted the pumpkins to reside.


A few children wandered over to a table where I had place several of the smaller pumpkins and soft, balls of clay. There was a little bit of experimentation but time was running out. I’ll bring the clay out again on Monday.


The 5 day children entered the Garden Classroom with great enthusiasm and with what I believe some memory of last year’s encounter with the dozens of pumpkins delivered by Suzanne. One child did a exuberant dance that he called, “a happy pumpkin dance” and several children and teachers joined him.


Others grabbed the pumpkins that had been gathered and lined up on the steps of the climber and finished their journey by pushing the pumpkins down the slide. Quickly, a protocol was agreed upon by calling, “Watch out! Pumpkin coming!” so everyone would remain safe. Our wonderful intern from UCSD assigned to Room 4, Caitlin, was quick to step in and protect the rolling pumpkins from smashing into the wall of the Art Cottage. Later, she arranged tires to do the job.


The clay proved to be very inviting to this group of children. Clay was applied to the pumpkins themselves. Various seeds and seed pods were added to the pumpkins to create facial features. What appealed to me the most was the collaboration between the artists. Two children worked together to apply clay to a larger pumpkin and two boys joined their pumpkins together. One of the artists called the conjoined pumpkins “a space ship” and the other called it “a monster.” Neither one was bothered that they didn’t agree on the end product’s official identity!

Well, the festivities are not over! I’m sure that we will be having lots of fun and certainly some learning will occur as we continue to explore and interact with the pumpkins over the coming weeks. Thank you Suzanne, Eli and K-K!


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