We called it an art show but the gathering that took place on Friday at the Hanna Fenichel Center for Child Development could have been called a “Family Reunion” and the title would have been just as appropriate!
For those of you who have children enrolled in the school or have visited the Garden Classroom, you know that my little bit of paradise is situated up a level from the other classrooms. The place was JUMPING and filled with many kinders, 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders and all siblings of our current students and thrilled to be swinging on “their” tire swing under the fabulous Mr. Tree, or roaming up and down on the slides. I had a throng of children in the Art Cottage and on the deck reliving their cherished memories of spending time at Hanna.
They used the same materials that their younger siblings have used to create our two rainbow pieces (still works in progress) and view the pumpkin plants (and sunflowers) that have sprouted from the seeds taken from the donated pumpkins left over from the Halloween pumpkin patch. (These pumpkins brought to us by KK and Eli are the pumpkins that “keep on giving!”)
While not discovered by our older siblings, one little sister enjoyed “painting” with the slip (a liquid mixture of clay and water that is used to help weld clay pieces together) in our clay display. She was using it in the proper context as one child discovered while working on the sculptures that were featured. (After seeing how children began painting leaves found on the ground with the slip, I used Mod Podge to protect the clay covered leaf and punched a hole in it and created a mobile with them.) I eventually enticed several of the older children to paint some of the leaves so they could be added to our mobile
Another display featured our attempts (SUCCESSFUL!) to entice the birds to visit the Garden Classroom. Besides various artifacts I have collected and our beloved “bird family” (that gets played with almost daily), the Bird Journal that tells the story that started last year was also on display. (I’m not sure what it means if the photographer is caught in a mirror while taking a photo. I certainly didn’t do it on purpose!
Visitors to the Garden Classroom can view the beautiful sign inviting the birds to “come and eat” created by several children and displayed at the Art Show. The story of how this sign came to be created can be found in the Bird Journal.
Even after putting the art and displays away, the parents, who seemed reluctant to acknowledge that the “Art Show” was over, joined the children under our sheltering pepper tree and enjoyed the lingering sunshine and each other’s company while the siblings continued to play, laugh and make new memories of being together at Hanna!
The anticipation grew to be too much! The longer the red, round globe pulled at the slender green stalk, sending out a clear, loud message, “Pick me!” eager little hands itched to snatch it off the vine. And one did! While children from other classes had been more observant and patient (Hence, why we were waiting for these young gardeners to return to do the picking.) when it was picked, a quick decision was made and plastic knives and a cutting board were gathered for a tasting party! Several children in the 3 Day afternoon class gathered together to cut and taste the tomato. The review on this harvest: a unanimous delicious! After taking turns slicing off bites, each of the children eagerly ate the perfect, red, vine ripened tomato.
Okay, what to do about the other classes? Some of those children had really been eyeing that tomato! That’s a problem when you only have “a tomato” growing on a vine. Kendra was very kind and went shopping for two perfect, red, ripe tomatoes. While not a trick, I set one of the tomatoes for the 5 Day Class next to the very bare tomato plant. Sure enough, it was quickly spotted by one of the curious 5 Day children who had been watching it slowly ripen. I explained what happened, but our eager, young connoisseurs of red, ripe tomatoes were not sad or disappointed, they were just happy and eager to have their own tomato party. Plastic knives and a cutting board were already gathered so we quickly joined together to cut open this fruit –if not grown in our own garden – it also had grown from a plant from the ground. Their verdict? Not everybody was a fan. Although eager to cut it open, only a few were willing to taste it. But the lesson was still obvious, tomatoes grow on a plant and then (some) people eat them.
Here are the last of my observations that took place int The Garden Classroom last week that I just had to share!
During Camp Hanna, Sarah brought in a tomato plant for the garden. It was planted and lo and behold, we returned to school to discover a tomato growing! Two of our 5 Day boys discovered this lovely green tomato and they were very eager to pick it. Lisa helped the boys determine that the tomato was not ready to be picked by using the small plant marker to compare the color of the tomato on the vine with the red, ripe tomato pictured on the marker. The boys backed away from the plant. One of the things that gardening teaches us is to be patient, so I was pleased to see their willingness to wait. I am wondering…will they be just as excited to eat the tomato as they will to pick it?
Sometimes, we the teachers are stunned by what a child says, does or observes. These final two observations fall under that category. I was entranced as I observed this young child from the Transition Class as he made a discovery. I was very fortunate to see him as he sat inside the tunnel and traced the seam that connected the two parts around and around with his finger. He was calm, focused and present. I learned a lesson from this young man.
Kendra and I were standing near a young learner from Transition while she rinsed her hands in a tub of water after experimenting with clay. As she finished up this task, she continued to watch the water. After a moment she looked up at us and said, “I see trees.” Kendra and I looked down and sure enough, there was a reflection of the overhanging trees in the murky water. We were delighted that she was so observant. Another child came over and swished the water around and the reflection disappeared! We all watched as the water once again became calm and the trees appeared once again- like magic. This was a discovery that deserves more exploration.What other reflections can we find? What are the children’s hypothesis concerning what a reflection is and how it is made? Lots of good stuff here to explore and inspire some wonderful creative thinking!
Whew! Now that I am caught up with reporting last week’s exciting events, I am already starting to rub my hands together with anticipation and trying to decide where I will start when sharing with you about this week’s discoveries and adventures. With Joy! Francie
Several teachers have been asking me, “What happened to the carrots?” It is very obvious that “something” ate our beautiful crop. But this story has a happy ending! No evil squirrels invaded the garden, this time! This story started way back in March when the children planted carrot seeds in one of our raised beds. For several weeks leading up to the end of the school year, we had carefully been inspecting the progress of our carrots. We watched as the tiny sprouts slowly grew into big, fluffy, fluttery green frills! Along with watching the carrots growth, we read and reread the classic story, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kruass. Finally, during the second week of Camp Hanna, it was discovered that the carrots were big enough for two bites! Pretty soon, the word got around and a dozen children were picking and eating the crunchy harvest! The children shared the pretty little tops with Princess, our pet rabbit!