Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #6 Wednesday AM

“No bees, no food!” was our mantra of the week. For many, we worked on facing fears by gaining knowledge and developing empathy for these tiny creatures who help support our own human survival on this planet. We signed in by tracing a line to help a worker honey bee navigate to a sunflower. Did you know that honey bees only focus on pollinating one flower species at a time? They will then “regroup” in the hive before shifting their efforts to a different species. Wow! Bee communication is amazing!

In preparation for our visit to the forest next week, we voted for predators, either owls or foxes. We likely spend some time acting as those animals in the forest. What do they need to survive? How do they explore the world?

For our welcome activities, we had time to for process art utilizing beautiful insect stamps. We wonder what kinds of insects we’ll discover in the forest next week? Farm Sprouts visited with our Japanese quail chicks, fed Coltrane, joined in block play on the carpet, or explored our discovery table, on which we display our nature treasures found by Farm Sprouts during our adventures. We noticed the chicks were growing their flight feathers, with the beginning pin feathers showing bright white on their wings.

During our gathering, we acted as seeds sprouting into flowers before changing into beesas we danced to the song, “Bumblebee” by Laurie Berkner.

During our Invitations to Play, Discover, Explore! we cooked with various beans and seeds in the sensory table, painted flowers, bees, etc., and worked as beekeepers and/or farmer’s market workers, harvesting honey and selling it to costumers. Seeds become flowers, the bees pollinate the flowers, which are beautiful, a work of art of nature, and we in turn can harvest the honey made by the bees to sell at the store or market. There is such power in pretend play! Language, mathematics, collaboration, food systems, and more are all embedded through this type of play. Thank you to the Boji, Forbes, and Thwaite families for donating the bee suits. Thank you to the Hurlbert, Rubin, and Fritz families for donating the gloves and tools, including a hive tool, bee brush, and smoker. A big thank you to the Schaad family for their donations of bee “glue,” wax, candle, and honeycomb. And lastly, thank you to Ms. Marilyn for donating the skep! What in the world is a skep? Read on for a brief overview of the history on beekeeping. These items are such a wonderful addition to our program!

For our snack, we thought about how strawberries grow with a poem. We munched on strawberries, tasted local, creamy honey on Wasa light rye crackers, and tasted sunflower seed kernels, as requested by Farm Sprouts based on our transplanting activity last week. Without bees, this snack would not have been possible! We were feeling very grateful for bees as we filled our bellies with these sweet treats.

It was then time for a hike and today, it was off to the hives We have eight hives recently installed by Meghan Milbrath with the Department of Entomology at MSU for the purpose of research. We practiced our observation skills as we trained our eyes to see the honeybees darting in and out of the hives. We counted the hives and asked questions about them. Can bees sting each other? Do bees crash into one another? How do they go inside and out? What is happening inside? We talked about how it would feel to have a stranger invade our house and why beekeepers wear suits. Ms. Brooke suited up and headed into the bee yard, showing how at least with the honey bees, their focus is directed on seeking flowers rather than aggravating the humans surrounding their homes. We peeked inside a nucleus hive, using our senses to feel, smell and see. We’ve talked a lot about eggs and marveled that bees are another creature that hatch out of eggs! We’ve made some big strides in exploring our driving questions: How do seeds become flowers? How do bees help give us food?

To conclude the day, we documented our ideas and discoveries in our journals and enjoyed the book, Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Treckentrupp. We discovered how just one bee to make a world of difference! Thank you to the Jonckheere family for donating this beautiful story to Farm Sprouts!

 

Many thanks to Joan Hess, a local kindergarten teacher, for joining us and sharing her passion for learning this morning. Thank you to Tim McGee, Educational Leader at Tollgate and local beekeeper, for both harvesting the delicious honey for our snack and loaning us his nucleus hive. Lastly, we’d like to show our gratitude to Sheldon Schwitek and Mike Risk with the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association for their donation of the story coloring books that were sent home with your Farm Sprouts this week. From this week’s blog post, you can see the many who care deeply about bees and education. We fortunate to have such a great community of support!

Interested in learning more about bees as a family? Visit Bee Palooza on MSU’s campus on June 24th!

Want to help? Download this resource from our MSU Extension website.

“All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian Proverb

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #6 Tuesday PM

“No bees, no food!” was our mantra of the week. For many, we worked on facing fears by gaining knowledge and developing empathy for these tiny creatures who help support our own human survival on this planet. We signed in by tracing a line to help a worker honey bee navigate to a sunflower. Did you know that honey bees only focus on pollinating one flower species at a time? They will then “regroup” in the hive before shifting their efforts to a different species of flower. Wow! Bee communication is amazing!

In preparation for our visit to the forest next week, we voted for predators, either owls or foxes. We likely spend some time acting as those animals in the forest. What do they need to survive? How do they explore the world?

For our welcome activities, we had time to for process art utilizing beautiful insect stamps. We wonder what kinds of insects we’ll discover in the forest next week? Farm Sprouts visited with our Japanese quail chicks, fed Coltrane, joined in block play on the carpet, or explored our discovery table, on which we display our nature treasures found by Farm Sprouts during our adventures. We noticed the chicks were growing their flight feathers, with the beginning pin feathers showing bright white on their wings.

During our gathering, we acted as seeds sprouting into flowers before changing into bees as we danced to the song, “Bumblee” by Laurie Berkner.

During our Invitations to Play, Discover, Explore! we cooked with various beans and seeds in the sensory table, painted flowers, bees, etc., and worked as beekeepers and/or farmer’s market workers, harvesting honey and selling it to costumers. Seeds become flowers, the bees pollinate the flowers, which are beautiful, a work of art of nature, and we in turn can harvest the honey made by the bees to sell at the store or market. There is such power in pretend play! Language, mathematics, collaboration, food systems, and more are all embedded through this type of play. Thank you to the Boji, Forbes, and Thwaite families for donating the bee suits. Thank you to the Hurlbert, Rubin, and Fritz families for donating the gloves and tools, including a hive tool, bee brush, and smoker. A big thank you to the Schaad family for their donations of bee “glue,” wax, candle, and honeycomb. And lastly, thank you to Ms. Marilyn for donating the skep! What in the world is a skep? Read on for a brief overview of the history on beekeeping. These items are such a wonderful addition to our program!

For our snack, we thought about how strawberries grow with a poem. We munched on strawberries, tasted local, creamy honey on Wasa light rye crackers, and tasted sunflower seed kernels, as requested by Farm Sprouts based on our transplanting activity last week. Without bees, this snack would not have been possible! We were feeling very grateful for bees as we filled our bellies with these sweet treats.

It was then time for a hike and today, it was off to the hives We have eight hives recently installed by Meghan Milbrath with the Department of Entomology at MSU for the purpose of research. We practiced our observation skills as we trained our eyes to see the honeybees darting in and out of the hives. We counted the hives and asked questions about them. Can bees sting each other? Do bees crash into one another? How do they go inside and out? What is happening inside? We talked about how it would feel to have a stranger invade our house and why beekeepers wear suits. Ms. Brooke suited up and headed into the bee yard, showing how at least with the honey bees, their focus is directed on seeking flowers rather than aggravating the humans surrounding their homes. We peeked inside a nucleus hive, using our senses to feel, smell and see. We’ve talked a lot about eggs and marveled that bees are another creature that hatch out of eggs! We’ve made some big strides in exploring our driving questions: How do seeds become flowers? How do bees help give us food?

To conclude the day, we documented our ideas and discoveries in our journals and enjoyed the book, Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Treckentrupp. We discovered how just one bee to make a world of difference! Thank you to the Jonckheere family for donating this beautiful story to Farm Sprouts!

Thank you to Tim McGee, Educational Leader at Tollgate and local beekeeper, for both harvesting the delicious honey for our snack and loaning us his nucleus hive. We’d also like to show our gratitude to Sheldon Schwitek and Mike Risk with the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association for their donation of the story coloring books that were sent home with your Farm Sprouts this week. From this week’s blog post, you can see the many who care deeply about bees and education. We fortunate to have such a great community of support!

Interested in learning more about bees as a family? Visit Bee Palooza on MSU’s campus on June 24th!

Want to help? Download this resource from our MSU Extension website.

“All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian Proverb

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #6 Tuesday AM

“No bees, no food!” was our mantra of the week. For many, we worked on facing fears by gaining knowledge and developing empathy for these tiny creatures who help support our own human survival on this planet. We signed in by tracing a line to help a worker honey bee navigate to a sunflower. Did you know that honey bees only focus on pollinating one flower species at a time? They will then “regroup” in the hive before shifting their efforts to a different species of flower. Wow! Bee communication is amazing!

In preparation for our visit to the forest next week, we voted for predators, either owls or foxes. We likely spend some time acting as those animals in the forest. What do they need to survive? How do they explore the world?

For our welcome activities, we had time to for process art utilizing beautiful insect stamps. We wonder what kinds of insects we’ll discover in the forest next week? Farm Sprouts visited with our Japanese quail chicks, fed Coltrane, joined in block play on the carpet, or explored our discovery table, on which we display our nature treasures found by Farm Sprouts during our adventures. We noticed the chicks were growing their flight feathers, with the beginning pin feathers showing bright white on their wings.

During our gathering, we danced to the song, “Bumblebee” by Laurie Berkner before heading out for our Invitations to Play, Discover, Explore! we cooked with various beans and seeds in the sensory table, painted flowers, bees, etc., and worked as beekeepers and/or farmer’s market workers, harvesting honey and selling it to costumers. Seeds become flowers, the bees pollinate the flowers, which are beautiful, a work of art of nature, and we in turn can harvest the honey made by the bees to sell at the store or market. There is such power in pretend play! Language, mathematics, collaboration, food systems, and more are all embedded through this type of play. Thank you to the Boji, Forbes, and Thwaite families for donating the bee suits. Thank you to the Hurlbert, Rubin, and Fritz families for donating the gloves and tools, including a hive tool, bee brush, and smoker. A big thank you to the Schaad family for their donations of bee “glue,” wax, candle, and honeycomb. And lastly, thank you to Ms. Marilyn for donating the skep! What in the world is a skep? Read on for a brief overview of the history on beekeeping. These items are such a wonderful addition to our program!

 

For our snack, we thought about how strawberries grow with a poem. We munched on strawberries, tasted local, creamy honey on Wasa light rye crackers, and tasted sunflower seed kernels, as requested by Farm Sprouts based on our transplanting activity last week. Without bees, this snack would not have been possible! We were feeling very grateful for bees as we filled our bellies with these sweet treats.

It was then time for a hike and today, it was off to the hives We have eight hives recently installed by Meghan Milbrath with the Department of Entomology at MSU for the purpose of research. We practiced our observation skills as we trained our eyes to see the honeybees darting in and out of the hives. We counted the hives and asked questions about them. Can bees sting each other? Do bees crash into one another? How do they go inside and out? What is happening inside? We talked about how it would feel to have a stranger invade our house and why beekeepers wear suits. Ms. Brooke suited up and headed into the bee yard, showing how at least with the honey bees, their focus is directed on seeking flowers rather than aggravating the humans surrounding their homes. We peeked inside a nucleus hive, using our senses to feel, smell and see. We’ve talked a lot about eggs and marveled that bees are another creature that hatch out of eggs! We’ve made some big strides in exploring our driving questions: How do seeds become flowers? How do bees help give us food?

Many thanks to Ms. Kylie Rymanowicz, an Extension Educator! You were a brilliant “Monday Morning” addition to our program this week! And thank you to Tim McGee, Educational Leader at Tollgate and local beekeeper, for both harvesting the delicious honey for our snack and loaning us his nucleus hive. Lastly, we’d like to show our gratitude to Sheldon Schwitek and Mike Risk with the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association for their donation of the story coloring books that were sent home with your Farm Sprouts this week. From this week’s blog post, you can see the many who care deeply about bees and education. We fortunate to have such a great community of support!

Interested in learning more about bees as a family? Visit Bee Palooza on MSU’s campus on June 24th!

Want to help? Download this resource from our MSU Extension website.

“All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian Proverb

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #5 Wednesday PM

Our fifth week was filled with egg-citement! We signed in by weighing eggs from our hens at the farm on our egg scale. We placed pennies in the jar which corresponded to the size of the egg and later made a graph to represent our results. It was an authentic way to practice care and early mathematical skills. We voted for pollinators, either a bee or butterfly. Butterflies were the most popular and we gave it our best efforts to catch cabbage white butterflies in the garden this week. We’ll plan to visit more of our gardens in the coming weeks to see if we can discover other varieties! We also trimmed pea shoots grown for us in the greenhouse by our Sustainable Agriculture team to be used to make a smoothie for our snack today.

During our gathering, we acted as developing eggs to help us understand chicken embryology. We again practiced care as we had the opportunity to interact with and hold chicks. We met our Japanese quail chicks as well, freshly hatched in our incubator just hours before Farm Sprouts arrival. We even had the chance to observe some eggs shaking as chicks were working to emerge and could inspect the shells of the eggs the chicks had hatched from.

Outside, we visited our walk-in cooler, the place we store milk from the goats, eggs from the chickens, and vegetables from the fields. We noted people can buy eggs according to their size, placing money into a container, just as we did for sign-in this week.

We picked up our sunflowers from the greenhouse and headed out to our Educational Garden. These sunflowers have been planted and harvested by Farm Sprouts since the first season of our program in the spring of 2015, making this year’s crop generation F3. It is quite special to note that Farm Sprouts accomplish each step of the process, from planting, transplanting, harvesting, and of course, caring for them at different points in the life cycle. We have children who have been with us since the fall of 2015, who have now developed a deep connection to the land and its resources through the seasonal traditions and authentic tasks which support our farm community. As summarized by Jane M. Healy on the work of Jean Piaget, “…the child creates his own intelligence at each level by puzzling out inconsistencies between his bits of knowledge, or “schemas,” and the reality of his daily experiences.” With each exposure to an experience, our familiarity and understanding grows. There is much that even we, as teachers, can still learn from a sunflower. The knowledge and skills Farm Sprouts develop through such experiences prepare them not only for kindergarten, but for life. Visit the NGSS website to see how our study of sunflowers, as well as other areas of study, support kindergarten readiness. This season we planted 63 sunflowers for each of our Farm Sprouts. We imagine they will be quite incredible in the fall!

We rehearsed how we would transplant and care for our sunflowers before entering with help from the song, “In My Garden” by Raffi. While digging, we discovered all sorts of creatures in the soil, including worms. Who knew so many call soil home? What does it mean about the health of the soil?

Once we accomplished our big task, we made our way to the shady area to set up camp for free exploration. Farm Sprouts weeded, dug for worms and other creatures, attempted to catch butterflies, utilized their creativity in combination with loose parts, documented discoveries in their journals, enjoyed smoothies made with our pea shoots, and more. Many requested that we share our smoothie recipe!

Pea Shoot Smoothie

2 apples, sliced
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 cup pea shoots (or spinach)
honey, to taste
coconut water
ice

To end the day, we enjoyed the book, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Thank you to the Dismondy family for donating the book to Farm Sprouts! Maria Dismondy is a local children’s book author as well. Visit her website to learn more about her wonderful books!

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #5 Wednesday AM

Our fifth week was filled with egg-citement! We signed in by weighing eggs from our hens at the farm on our egg scale. We placed pennies in the jar which corresponded to the size of the egg and later made a graph to represent our results. It was an authentic way to practice care and early mathematical skills. We voted for pollinators, either a bee or butterfly. Butterflies were the most popular and we gave it our best efforts to catch cabbage white butterflies in the garden this week. We’ll plan to visit more of our gardens in the coming weeks to see if we can discover other varieties! We also trimmed pea shoots grown for us in the greenhouse by our Sustainable Agriculture team to make a smoothie for our snack today.

During our gathering, we acted as developing eggs to help us understand chicken embryology. We again practiced care as we had the opportunity to interact with and hold chicks. We met our Japanese quail chicks as well, freshly hatched in our incubator just hours before Farm Sprouts arrival. We even had the chance to observe some eggs shaking as chicks were working to emerge and could inspect the shells of the eggs the chicks had hatched from.

Outside, we visited our walk-in cooler, the place we store milk from the goats, eggs from the chickens, and vegetables from the fields. We noted people can buy eggs according to their size, placing money into a container, just as we did for sign-in this week.

We picked up our sunflowers from the greenhouse and headed out to our Educational Garden. These sunflowers have been planted and harvested by Farm Sprouts since the first season of our program in the spring of 2015, making this year’s crop generation F3. It is quite special to note that Farm Sprouts accomplish each step of the process, from planting, transplanting, harvesting, and of course, caring for them at different points in the life cycle. We have children who have been with us since the fall of 2015, who have now developed a deep connection to the land and its resources through the seasonal traditions and authentic tasks which support our farm community. As summarized by Jane M. Healy on the work of Jean Piaget, “…the child creates his own intelligence at each level by puzzling out inconsistencies between his bits of knowledge, or “schemas,” and the reality of his daily experiences.” With each exposure to an experience, our familiarity and understanding grows. There is much that even we, as teachers, can still learn from a sunflower. The knowledge and skills Farm Sprouts develop through such experiences prepare them not only for kindergarten, but for life. Visit the NGSS website to see how our study of sunflowers, as well as other areas of study, support kindergarten readiness. This season we planted 63 sunflowers for each of our Farm Sprouts. We imagine they will be quite incredible in the fall!

We rehearsed how we would transplant and care for our sunflowers before entering with help from the song, “In My Garden” by Raffi. While digging, we discovered all sorts of creatures in the soil, including worms. Who knew so many call soil home? What does it mean about the health of the soil?

Once we accomplished our big task, we made our way to the shady area to set up camp for free exploration. Farm Sprouts weeded, dug for worms and other creatures, attempted to catch butterflies, utilized their creativity in combination with loose parts, documented discoveries in their journals, enjoyed smoothies made with our pea shoots, and more. Many requested that we share our smoothie recipe!

Pea Shoot Smoothie

2 apples, sliced
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 cup pea shoots (or spinach)
honey, to taste
coconut water
ice

 

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

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