This time of year is wonderful for nurturing nature, language, and your child’s innate curiosity for the sensory experiences of gardening. Come along and see how we dig, plant, touch, and learn language by nurturing our vegetables in the preschool garden box.
First off, when deciding what to use, remember the child’s perspective of what they can see and reach when picking a pot, box, or gardening space. You will want them to be able to explore, touch, and interact with the soil, critters, plants, and materials. After all, we probably wouldn’t have declared “slimy” and “yuck” in our garden had we forgone digging out a few worms from the box to share!
When looking to expand language, be willing to embrace the gardening space as the children’s. Less adult regulation provides an avenue for children to talk about what they are experiencing and thinking as the nature around unfolds. If they put a handful of seeds in a hole or dig to the bottom of the box, that’s okay! Trial and error is a learning experience. Nothing beat the excitement in our room after we planted our fifth batch of bean sprouts, nor the language we learned along the way from dead and molded beans.
I urge you to explore gardening through the lens of a child. From language growth to life lessons, the learning is endless. The children in my room have learned patience when waiting for things to grow, teamwork when sharing tasks for garden care, how to react when plants die or are eaten, and the language to utilize what they are seeing, exploring, and thinking along the way. With opportunities abounding it is time to ready…set…grow!
Caitlin O’Neill, M.E.D.
Preschool Teacher of the Deaf