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
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 cup pea shoots (or spinach)
honey, to taste
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop