Spring Farm Sprouts 2017 – Week #8 (AM)

What a beautiful conclusion to our spring season! Farm Sprouts enjoyed some time at the pond and a wagon ride around the farm with their families to celebrate all we learned and accomplished over the past eight weeks.

Farm Sprouts signed in today by sharing a favorite memory from the spring at the farm. The Wonder Wall helped them recall what we had experienced and discovered. Our welcome activities included exploring life cycles of the butterfly and frog at the discovery table, playdough with farm animals, and a game called “To Compost or Not to Compost?” Items that could be composted, like egg shells, sheep wool, and apple went into the wheelbarrow, while items like cheese and meat leftovers went into the waste bag.

Our whole group summative assessment involved creating a mural following a discussion about our Wonder Wall using a variety of natural and creative materials and supplies, including paint, soil, plants, scissors, glue, and rubber worms for making trails. While Farm Sprouts worked on the mural, we had them share their thinking about our learning from the season. “How does our garden grow?” was the essential question of our inquiry project this spring. Each spring season of Farm Sprouts carries this question in a different direction and this season eggs, manure, and compost became our focus. Through our study of embryology children naturally gravitated towards investigating the nutrient cycle, which is part of the very complex system of survival of the living organisms on the farm. During a discussion on chick hatching, one child stated, “They poop and they pee when they come out.” So what happens to animal manure at the farm? We explored that very concept stemming off of their interests. Farm Sprouts definitely have a new perspective on something they encounter every day!

We are grateful that Mr. Mike could join us for our pond adventure, to share his passion for one of our most important natural resources in Michigan… water! He told us a magical story about a bunny and a pool that captured our attention right from the start. Outside of our classroom en route to the pond, we noticed the sunflowers growing in the beds. These sunflowers were self-sown in the fall by visiting birds looking for a snack. It’ll be interesting to see how they appear this fall! How will they grow? With water, sun, and nutrients in the soil, of course! The sunflowers we sprouted in the greenhouse were planted in the Educational Garden and are growing well for harvest in the fall.

We crossed the stream to head to the deck to prepare for pond dipping. Farm Sprouts made predictions of what we might discover, which included fish, frogs, turtles, and alligators. We spotted our Pekin ducks and visiting Canadian Geese. We found snails, water striders, algae, threadworms, a various beetles and other creatures in their larva stage through pond dipping. One group even discovered a large crayfish hidden among the algae!

For snack, we munched on carrots and sourdough Wasa crackers with homemade butter made by Farm Sprouts last week. We took a look at a bunch of whole carrots, including the bottom root part we eat and the green leafy tops. We read the story What do you do with an idea? by Kobi Yamada and wondered about the oval-shaped friend to the boy in the story. We hope you’ll carry your sense of wonder and curiosity throughout your lives. Continue to ask the big questions and explore your ideas!

We concluded our day with a family wagon ride around the farm. We finally ended up with a look at our horses! Many thanks to the Tollgate operations crew for all of their support this season and to Mr. Joe for driving one of our tractors for the ride. It was nice to share this special ending with our families. Our families are also an important part of our farm community each season. We appreciate you and all you do to make the world a better place, which we saw each Tuesday through the love and care shown towards your children.

Thank you to Ms. Melanie for her variety of contributions to our Farm Sprouts program, including her knowledge of early literacy and educating the whole child, her passion for nature and the outdoors, her willingness and desire to continue to learn and grow along with me and the children, and for her endless support and positive attitude. Many thanks to Ms Marilyn for officially joining us this season, for sharing her love of children’s literature, gardening, and nature, for her desire to learn more about the workings of the natural world, and for her great attitude and support. We are truly modeling by example and I look forward to continuing to work and grow with you both!

All the best,

Ms. Brooke

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