The kinders have been rediscovering the wonders of gardening even as the earth rests for the winter. While exploring outside together, BW, HV and CL found some white little “things” near the end of the skating rink, under some brush. “I found Something!” called BW. When April ventured closer to see what they had discovered, she wondered aloud what they now held in their hands. They were small, white and a little bit hard. The first guess the children had was that they may be rocks.
As they continued to search for more together, they made their way to the fence where our neighbour, Frank, grows a magnificent garden during the summer months. On the ground, closer to the fence, the children found more. Recalling the giant bean plants we had given space to all summer, the children concluded “These are beans.” The discovery of the beans led to the curiosity about planting and growing some of our own.
Inside, we decided to search our seed stash for some bean seeds. Our pepper plants had, unfortunately, died over the holidays but this left room under our grow lights for something new to flourish. We discovered all different kinds of bean seeds hidden away from previous gardens and decided to give growing them a try.
We each found a pot and labelled them with our names using a piece of tape. We took turns filling our pots with soil before poking a hole down the middle with a pointer finger and dropping our chosen seeds down the hole. We covered them lightly with soil, watered them and then placed them under the lights. Now, we wait but, while we do, we have had some really great conversations about our bean plant growing experiment.
At our gathering circle, we recalled and recorded the process of planting our beans, step by step. The children are really excited about caring for their seeds and remember that, in order to grow, plants need soil, water, sunshine and love. So we added that to our process as well.
Each day, the children check on and water their seeds, independently filling the watering can and finding their own pot to water. They speculate about when they will see the beans sprout and how tall they may eventually grow. Sharing the book “Jack and The Beanstalk” at a quiet time circle really piqued our curiosity and got our imaginations running wild about just how tall our bean plants may grow. “Taller than an adult?” “Taller than the roof?” I guess time will tell!
This story also brought us, serendipitously, into a conversation about the story itself, beyond the giant beanstalk. We talked about how Jack came about the gold coins, the golden eggs, and harp and the children recognized that the giant was upset about that because they belonged to him and that Jack didn’t ask for them. We talked about how we might feel if someone took something special from us and the children realized that they would also feel upset, sad or even angry. This conversation had us thinking about the giant in a different light. Maybe he’s not a “bad guy” after all and that, if Jack was making kind choices, the giant may have been a really great friend.
When we turned our attention back to beans, we got talking about the different stages of a bean plant. We learned about this being the life cycle of a plant and related this the butterfly life cycle we learned about when we had butterfly friends in our classroom. Some of the children helped to draw the different stages of the life cycle by using real seeds and life cycle models as visual inspiration. They drew: Seeds, the germination stage, a seedling and a grown bean plant. Later, some of the children created their own representations of these stages at the art table using different mediums and practising their hands at printing by labelling their creations.
While we have yet to see anything sprout thus far, we are confident that, with care, our plants will eventually grow. We are looking forward to practising our measuring skills once they do and quite curious to see what will happen along the way! As we help our beans grow, we are finding that our beans are helping us grow and learn in so many ways well.
Chelsa O, RECE, Forest School Practitioner