Spring Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #1 (AM)

Happy First Week of Spring Farm Sprouts! We had a beautiful first day to kick off the season. The apple and pear trees were in full blossom and we jumped straight into exploring life cycles, with a special focus on the life cycle of a chicken.

We scratched the first letters of our name in chicken crumble to sign in this week. We personalized our journals so that next week we are ready to begin documenting discoveries in nature. During our large group gathering, we danced to the song, “Josefina la gallina” before jumping into an inquiry-based discussion revolving around the question: How does an egg become a chick? We peered inside our incubator and added six eggs to observe over the next 21 days. We’ll have the chance to use an ovascope next week for a peek at what is happening inside the eggs.

Our Invitations to Play, Explore and Experiment included a sensory table with corn, scoops, and farm animals. Farm Sprouts had the chance to observe and hold three-week-old chicks and explore a variety of eggs, their weight with a scale, a cracked open egg, and what a chicken needs to survive. We were fortunate to have a clear view of the blastodisc, or germinal disc, of the egg, which is where the embryo would begin to form. We’ll continue to investigate what plants and animals need to develop and survive in the coming weeks.

During our Garden Snack, we enjoyed carrot sticks and freshly-picked asparagus from our C.S.A. field. The produce is grown used sustainable methods. Many children gave it a try and some munched it right down! We thought it was interesting our snack included a vegetable in which we eat the part that grows down in the soil and one we eat from above. We’ll be getting our hands dirty next week by doing some planting of our own, which will include a visit to our greenhouse.

We then hiked to observe the animals in the pastures, including our Angus cows and the two-day-old calf. We’ll have more on the way soon! We were able to discuss what makes them mammals, noting the hair or fur covering their bodies and the calf drinking milk from his mom’s udder. In the Animal Barn, we familiarized ourselves with the barn and had the job of feeding our goat kids milk. Our goats are a Toggenburg breed of goats, known for their milk production. We also visited our free-range chicken flock at our mobile coop. We identified the roosters amidst the hens. One of our jobs during the season will be to collect eggs, connecting eggs to their source and deepening our understanding of the life cycle of a chicken. We also couldn’t resist digging our heels into a bit of mud and observing ducks floating along in a giant puddle.

During the last part of our morning together, we read a classic story, Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins, which brought on giggles and a bit of discussion on predator-prey relationships. We closed our day with a requested hike through the Children’s Garden which included a popular and exciting discovery along with our goodbye routine. Can you spot our discovery?

Many thanks to Nicole Simmons, our Animal Care Coordinator, and Will Jaquinde, our C.S.A. Coordinator/Sustainable Agriculture Instructor, for their contributions to creating a rich and engaging program for this season’s Farm Sprouts!

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