Our third week led us into exploring the many ways the plants and animals at the farm are connected. Which animals lay eggs at the farm? How do plants and animals move through their life cycles? How does the complexity of the life cycles of plants and animals help to create a healthy ecosystem? While this is a very involved question to answer, our play and explorations with plants and animals at the farm help to build the conceptual framework children need to understand and develop an appreciation for ecosystems and diversity of life as they move into adulthood.
Upon arrival, Farm Sprouts were invited to trace letters in chicken feed, vote for the egg-laying animal he or she found most interesting, and to care for, handle, and observe those creatures, our turtle, Coltrane, or the worms from our vermicomposting bin. We discovered worm eggs in the bin and compared them to the eggs in our incubator. They are much smaller than chicken eggs. We know that eggs come in all sizes, shapes, and colors!
We gathered as a group to begin to create our Wonder Wall, the place we make our learning visible in our classroom to everyone involved in our farm community this spring, especially our Farm Sprouts. We already observed them touching the photos and remembering some of their experiences from our first weeks as we worked to create the wall together. The Wonder Wall helps Farm Sprouts with memory recall to support them in building new connections and understandings of concepts we are exploring. They are excited to see and hear their thoughts, ideas, drawings, and discoveries are accepted and utilized to help guide our learning process. Our vocabulary is growing with each visit to the farm as we learn new words, words such as incubator, blastodisc, and oology. Have you thought about an egg lately? We will continue to include these big words and others as a regular part of our conversations, through authentic learning opportunities. We read from the book, The Egg by Britta Teckentrup and marveled at the variety of eggs and creatures who lay them. We worked on learning each other’s names, welcoming each other and sharing our favorite egg-laying creature. We peeked in our incubator to see if anything was happening after 7 days. All was quiet, so we will continue our count to see how many days it takes for our eggs to hatch. The richness that diversity of life brings to the world not just in appearance, but with the variety of sounds and words, movements and interactions, smells and textures, spur endless wonder and curiosity, as long as we take time to notice!
During our Invitations to Play, we explored eggs, properties of water and natural materials, including feathers and wool, and engaged in process art that involved play with water and color to create flowers. Who visits flowers? What happens when a bee or butterfly visits a flower? We know that bees make honey, but what else happens as they visit flowers? This is a question we hope to explore to push our thinking beyond the sticky, sweet stuff we like to spread on toast!
For our Garden Snack this week, we had a very special visitor, Robin Danto, an Extension Educator with the MSU Extension Health and Nutrition Institute. We explored the idea of “Eating from the Rainbow” as we engaged in some great activities. Color races and bracelets had us practicing our colors and associating fruits and vegetables with the colors. We munched rainbow salad as we listened to “Vegetable Party” by Laura Doherty. We practiced the saying, “Don’t yuck my yum!” to keep us focused on staying positive and adventurous when faced with new foods or foods we tend to scrunch our nose at when placed on our plates. And Farm Sprouts were adventurous! Most tried something new! Thank you, Ms. Robin, for guiding us through this week’s Garden Snack and providing us with great resources, including coloring books!
Ms. Robin recommends the following books to continue the conversation at home:
Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan
We Like to Eat by Michigan Fitness Foundation
A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian
I Can Eat a Rainbow by Lizzie Swan and Marlowe Beckmann
We checked in our sunflowers, sprouting in the greenhouse and visited our hens. We concluded our day below a cherry tree in full bloom, with bees buzzing overhead, with our “Vinyasa Farm Flow” to show our gratitude for all we experienced together, a routine which creates a sense of community and closure until we meet again!
Many thanks to the Corrigan-Salter family for donating the beautiful book about eggs to support our learning this week and to Robin Danto for supporting our program this week.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect.” – Chief Seattle