This summer my daughter and I have started gardening together. We chose some plants together, we got her some gardening gloves and she used money from her piggy bank to buy herself her own gardening tools.
This year she has learned that when seeds are combined with soil, water, sun and TLC they turn into sprouts and then into plants. She learned how to take a plant out of a pot, measure the space needed to plant it into a flower bed and dig a hole the right size in order to add it to our flower beds. She also learned how to tell the difference between a weed and a wanted plant and how to pull weeds out with their roots so that they won’t grow back.
My daughter has started to learn about the importance of bees, the value of trees and about the multiple purposes and uses we have for plants.
Most importantly, she is learning to care for her surroundings, to enjoy being outdoors and making daily discoveries.
4 Lessons I’ve Learned About Motivating My Child to Garden With Me
She loves having her own tools.
She has her own gardening gloves (they’ll probably fit her for the next 5-7 years, they’re so big, but they were the smallest we could find), she has her own small gardening tools, rakes, shovels and buckets. (She even bought them with her own money from her piggy bank, which is a story worth its own blog post).
She loves spending the time outside.
I have cancelled all cartoon television channels (I know, I’m so mean) and head outside right away in the morning to have my coffee, in front of my flower beds. Naturally, Clara finds ways to occupy herself when I am having my coffee and makes all kinds of discoveries.
For my daughter to like gardening with me, she has to garden with me.
“Model the behavior you want to see in your children” and “Set the example”. This is what we are always told but we often forget that it applies to more than just being polite. When we make good choices, our children see us and often want to imitate us. When our children see us enjoying ourselves spending time outside and gardening, our children are more likely to want to find out why we love it so much and want to try it as well.
She reaps what she sows.
This year we started tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and peas from seeds. We planted some zucchini, basil, sage, green beans and yellow beans. We have raspberry bushes and strawberry plants that come back every year. As a family, we picked our basil, made some pesto and enjoyed it together. When we make sandwiches and salads, Clara helps me pick the lettuce from the garden. When Clara feels like munching, she heads towards the ripe produce in our own garden and enjoys a self-made feast! She understands that there is a purpose, besides it being enjoyable, to gardening.
How Can These Lessons be Translated to the Classroom?
Stay tuned and follow my blog during the next school year to learn more about how I will be incorporating a love for gardening, nature and outdoor exploration with students in my classroom, as well as through the continued growth of the St. Jude Elementary Green School Project.
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