Our second week of the fall season brought more hot weather, giving Farm Sprouts a bit of appreciation for the sweat and hard work that goes into running a farm. It certainly wasn’t all hard work, however, this week. Play and discovery wove their way through our time together as we come to know each other and our interests. Many big questions began to emerge and soon our Wonder Wall will begin to highlight the scientific thinking and concepts we’re exploring through the program. Curious about our Wonder Wall? Read more here. In the coming weeks, our classroom will continue to come alive with the thinking of our Farm Sprouts, just as our trees sprouted late-summer/early-fall leaves this week!
Upon arrival, Farm Sprouts voted for chickens or goats. Goats were the more popular vote, therefore next week we plan to work with our goats. Not to worry! We’ll surely take time to care for our chickens as well this season. There was much to explore at our discovery and welcome table, from bees to butterflies to seeds, harvest season bears much to collect and observe closely. We gathered as a group to talk about languages, acknowledging and appreciating the diversity of languages humans speak, even just among our Farm Sprouts this season. Many of us regularly speak English, Spanish, Lithuanian, German, and Chinese! We compared this to our animals, who also happen to speak many languages, from “moo,” to “buzz,” to “neigh,” to “quack!” We counted, sang, and greeted our animals in Spanish over the course of the day. We’ll incorporate other languages coming up as well. We thought about what we know or wonder about bees, gauging children’s fears and levels of understanding, since we’ve been seeing bees very active at work in our gardens and fields as they prepare for the winter months. We had fun singing and dancing to The Laurie Berkner Band’s “Bumblee (Buzz Buzz.)”
Once outside, Farm Sprouts busied themselves with play, either digging into pasta signifying the stages of our butterfly pollinator friends (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly), creating shape/color flower art with pollinator visitors, working a pretend play farmer’s market, or exploring near the Children’s Garden.
Next, we loaded the wagon for a ride around the farm. Our stops included the cool forest to enjoy a snack break and journal. For this week’s harvest snack, we tasted smoothies with our very own farm kale, apples, carrots, and honey. One of the key aims of our philosophy and approach to educating young children revolves around connecting them to their food and those who grow it. We greatly value our collaboration with our Sustainable Agriculture team. Many of our families also join our C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Farm Sprouts enjoy picking up and eating food grown on the farm they’ve grown to know and love. Other ways to engage your children in our local food system is to visit orchards, farmer’s markets, like Eastern Market, grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and to involve your children in cooking. Not only do such events and activities connect your children and families to food, but also to each other! To learn more about how MSU is supporting conversations about food and the future of food, check out Food@MSU. To connect to our Sustainable Agriculture team right here at Tollgate, including more information on our C.S.A. program, visit our website.
Lastly, we stopped to visit our new silver appleyard ducks. We were able to touch their feathers, observe the similarities and differences between the male and female (the male, or drake, has a greenish hue to his beak), and feed them a special treat: frozen peas!
To conclude the day, we read the book, Common Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market, admiring the incredible diversity the market shares with the world in terms of people, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and languages all coming together around food.
“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” – Stephen Covey