We had a beautiful beginning to our spring season! We saw the sunshine and discovered early signs of spring, such as buds appearing on the trees and honeybees returning to work. Each week, Farm Sprouts arrive and sign in upon arrival. They have the opportunity to vote for something they prefer and engage in a short activity, typically focused on early literacy. This allows us to greet and welcome each child individually and helps them to feel welcome. We note their interests and provide opportunities to follow them through our learning experiences. We also have animals to greet in our classroom. Previously, we had Coltrane, our turtle who previously occupied our classroom. He’s now moved to a nearby farm with his caretaker. While we miss Coltrane, we can take heart in the fact that he is happily swimming on. Now, we have been embracing our newest additions, Opal and Eleanor, our two very soft, floppy-eared rabbits. Farm Sprouts have loved the opportunity to interact with them and they certainly seem to be warming up to their “holidays” away from their hutch!
Each season, Farm Sprouts receive a journal to document their ideas and discoveries. Some weeks it is available as an option and other weeks we encourage everyone to share in their journal. This week, Farm Sprouts could personalize their journal in preparation for the big adventures in learning ahead!
We gathered to sing “Hi-Ho the Dairy-O” to learn each other’s names. Some friends are old and some new. We also danced a bit to a Chickadee song, as the birds have been very busy on the farm and we are certain to take note, from protecting their nests to their bird songs, they are some of our busiest creatures on the farm in early spring!
Outside, during our Invitations to Play, Experiment, Explore!, we utilized watercolors to paint eggs, the soft colors we might find them in nature. We worked as birds to build our own small nests in our sensory table and we planted sunflower seeds. These sunflower seeds are very special to our program. Each season, since our pilot spring season in 2015, we have been planting sunflower seeds to begin their life in our greenhouse, transplanted them to the educational garden in mid-May, left nature to care for them over summer, and have had our fall Farm Sprouts harvest them in October. We dry and store them for the winter, beginning the cycle again each spring. These are our own, special variety of mammoth seeds, special to our place and program. It is a tradition Farm Sprouts work to pass on each year. Over the coming weeks, we’ll stop to monitor their growth. Our C.S.A. team will help water them for us between program days. It’s a powerful way to learn the rhythms and cycles of nature and agriculture. Farm Sprouts helped to settle their seeds into the greenhouse. Many thanks to Farmers Will and Darby for their support with this important tradition!
Our animal care for the day lead us on a duck hunt, another opening week tradition! We discovered our two Pekin ducks at the top of our waterfall near the pond. We fed them and observed them swimming, noticing their orange, webbed feet and bills and white feathers.
To conclude the day, we munched carrots on a wagon ride around the farm, making note of our animals and other signs of spring, such as soil being prepared for vegetables from the greenhouse and our maple sugaring volunteers cleaning out the tanks, tubing, and other equipment to wrap up the season. It was our biggest season ever, with 182 gallons of maple syrup bottled! Our winter season Farm Sprouts can feel proud they helped contribute to a record-breaking season!
We gathered to read the story If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson and shared our thanks for all we experienced together. We highly recommend the book for your own libraries and taking time to model and discuss planting seeds of kindness. You’ll be amazed at the ideas your children might have to plant their own seeds. See you all back soon on the farm!
“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.” – John Harrigan