Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recess Gardening at Little Brook Elementary

Recess gardening could be gardening in small recesses of one's yard, but here it has to do with kids spending their recess doing gardening in the school courtyard. The courtyard is a fine space where plants can grow unfettered by deer, rabbits or groundhogs, and where children are clearly discovering the satisfactions of working with the soil.

In the first photo, the kids are exercising their math skills to space out plantings of the "three sisters"--corn, squash and beans.

Knowing well how reluctant kids can be to eat green vegetables, I was amazed to see the feeding frenzy in the edible pod pea patch. The only sort of encouragement needed was an admonition to leave some for the next class.

My contribution to this science day event was a tree identification table, where kids could match real leaves to color copies with name attached. It was a chance to talk about opposite and alternate, rounded vs. toothed lobes, and simple vs. compound.

In the mid-ground of the photo is a rising mountainette of Jerusalem Artichokes (the native tuberous sunflower), which surround a little pond. We need to remember to harvest the tubers over the winter. Otherwise, they come up much too densely.

In the distance is an herb garden that kids were building a decorative fence around, made of woven wild grape and Virginia creeper vines.

In its third season, the schoolyard garden is thriving, thanks to the many parents and teachers involved, and the energy and interest of the kids.

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