Our Trip to Ecosource Green’s
Garden of the Valley was simply beautiful.
First, we meet as a class in our mindfulness circle. The children were led through a series of breathing, listening and relaxation exercises. This helped the children to understand and engage their senses, and tune into their personal well-being every day.
Students’ explored the garden using magnifying glasses, picked mint and made mint tea, used loose parts, tended to the garden.
Students picked a handfuls or so of large mint leaves, washed them well and gently dried the mint with some paper towel.
Children love the natural world. An outdoor space that is rich in natural features can powerfully stimulate their sense of wonder and discovery. Where do ants live? Where do they get their purple colour? Looking for bees: Bee hunting, finding and following honeybees, is a mix of excitement and mindful meditation that provides valuable insight into the lives of bees.
Students found a quiet space in the garden to rest and explore the shells.
By providing props and making spaces that allow children to act out their imaginary worlds. Environments that facilitate storytelling and dramatic play. Set the stage for children to imagine themselves in many different roles.
Students explored a variety of shells on a tray so they could explore them in whatever fashion they wanted to. Students were observed using their olfactory sense to find out what the shells smelled like. (The answer? “Not much.” :-)) Students also used their sense of touch to decide if the shells were rough or smooth.
In childhood one is more open to sensory impressions than ever again in one’s life. Smells, sensations of heat, softness, weight, beauty and much more, form the basis of all of life’s later sensations.
– Eva Insulander, Swedish School Ground Designer and Planner
After meeting again and reflecting on our learning for the day, the children were given time for free play. During this time the students exercised their social skills while engaging in cooperative, imaginative play in the garden, and with loose parts. By encouraging the children to explore and understand the space independently, children are learning to be self-reliant.
Student voices from the garden…
“The water collected in the garden comes from the rain!” H.J.
“Our water smells like mint, we picked fresh mint.” A.F.
“There are so many bees looking for nectar.” T.S.
“This is our mini world, the animals love the garden.” M.D.
Children role play real-life situations through imagining scenarios and building small worlds. Plants, sand, and soil are materials that small children can relate to and manipulate for building and creating their own small worlds.