The Kinders have experienced their first harvest of the season! We were delighted to discover just a few ripe strawberries in our very hot and very humid patch but, as you’ll see, this isn’t really about the strawberries but, rather, where the discovery of exactly seven ripe strawberries combined with emergent learning can lead our program to go and grow over just a small portion of our day.
Naturally, it began with a visit to our garden after a trip to the forest. It was hot, the air was sticky and we only intended to pop in to have a look before heading indoors to cool off. That’s when we noticed the ripe, red strawberries! The children were so excited to find them and even more so to taste them but we realized quickly that there weren’t very many. Certainly not enough for us each to have one. The children began a hunt for more, leading us to our experimental garden where we found a couple more and then to Karen’s own personal garden where she shared yet a couple more. Another critter had beaten us to one of them as we noticed a hole in it that told us it had been previously enjoyed. We added up the berries together and counted exactly SEVEN ripe strawberries! We took them inside where it was cooler and where we could rinse them off, divide them and finally taste them!
As we sat to enjoy some cool water, Karen asked if we had ever heard the story “Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear” by Don and Audrey Wood. The children said they hadn’t and, when we couldn’t find a printed copy of the book, Karen offered to share the story with us while we ate our strawberries. While Karen shared her story (and the berries) with us, we listened intently. There were no pictures to see so we used our ears to take in the story she told and our imaginations to create the images that were “missing”.
After the story, we talked a bit about it. We talked about what we thought of the story, what we wondered about it and, more in depth, what we imagined in our minds. The children shared what they were “seeing in their brains” while they listened to the story and I recorded what they shared. As each child shared their perspective, described the characters they envisioned and even the characters they imagined up and added, they giggled together. They were genuinely excited and interested to hear and to notice that each child had imagined something different, each child had seen the pictures of the story differently than the next. Our strawberry adventure had quickly become about their unique ideas, their visions and their resulting conversation about one single story.
After lunch, we asked them if they might like to put their unique visions to paper. They were so excited to have the opportunity to share what they see with everyone around them, to put their imaginations to paper for all to see. They were so excited, in fact, that each of them couldn’t wait to bring their representations home to share with their families as well.
So, there you have it. Problem solving, Sharing, Story Telling, Imagination, Sharing Ideas, Social Interactions, Joy, Creative Representation, Belonging, A Sense of Self and a little taste of our first harvest are a few of the things that EXACTLY (not just) Seven Ripe Strawberries lead us to the other morning. Can you imagine where the rest of our garden will take us|?
Chelsa Osborne RECE, Forest School Practitioner