Fran├žais

May 2022 newsletter

Growing a garden, growing community

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.

Chinese proverb

Years ago, a group of friends shared a large garden bed at the Whitehorse Community Garden. Starting in early spring, the friends gathered each week with
their children in tow and their garden tools in hand, to prepare the soil, plant their seeds, tend and weed, wait and hope…

Over the summer, the children learned how to dream, work hard, communicate, trust, be patient, harvest and prepare food, share, listen, rest, and care for other living things.

Leading and learning in a garden with children is to constantly observe, evolve, shape, and nurture in a holistic, process-based manner.

A garden is a perfect metaphor for early childhood education. We plant seeds of love and care, nurture with guidance and affection, and hope to see the outcomes of our work as children grow and thrive.

In the Yukon, we continue to grow as early childhood educators and programs. Through ongoing professional learning and development, we grow our skills and abilities as thoughtful and intentional caregivers.

We are fortunate to have the role of nurturing children, supporting them as they grow in their own unique ways and in their own perfect times. Together, we are a community garden of caregivers and children, learning and growing each day.

Every child is a different kind of flower, and altogether make this world a beautiful garden

Anonymous

Do you know?

The Yukon Literacy Coalition has a Learning Garden close to Shipyards Park
 

In the summer of 2021, the Yukon Literacy Coalition developed and built a Learning Garden adjacent to the Pioneer Hotel in Shipyards Park in Whitehorse. The garden provides opportunities for people to learn about planting, maintaining and harvesting a garden. The vision is to have family literacy programming, workshops for adults, and teachings about traditional healing plants. Learn more here: https://yukonliteracy.com/food/garden

The Yukon Literacy Coalition website also features a page of useful resources on gardening in the North. Check out the website for information on planting, maintaining, troubleshooting and harvesting your Yukon garden – useful YouTube videos are also included! Check out the gardening resources here: https://yukonliteracy.com/food/resources.

The Yukon is also home to several community gardens, such as:

Interested in starting your own community garden? You can find information about funding support here: https://yukon.ca/en/doing-business/support-agriculture/get-funding-community-gardens-and-greenhouses.

Book nook

Book cover of Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Planting a Rainbow - a colourful classic!

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert is a charming and colourful story about a child and her mother planting bulbs and seeds together each spring, creating a rainbow of flowers.

This simple tale offers many opportunities to learn colours and shapes, create art based on the story, go on an “I Spy” colour walk, or role-play buying plants and flowers from a garden centre.

How do you use picture books to inspire learning?

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."

Audrey Hepburn

Urban gardening: creating connections

Embracing the complexities of human/non-human relationships

 

Gardening with children offers so many benefits. While enhancing the beauty of your learning spaces, children have opportunities for magical learning experiences. The first thing that might come to mind is scientific exploration. Engaging with life cycles and developing an understanding of our ecosystem is inextricably linked with seeds sprouting, bees pollinating, and the life cycle of plants. Opportunities to integrate numeracy skills such as measuring, classifying and counting naturally occur as children fill pots with soil, water seeds and count sprouts. There are many different books we can share with children about seeds, plants and growing cycles that can bring literacy into the experience. Social skills such as communicating, listening and cooperating are ongoing throughout the growing season.

Beyond academic learning, gardening with children provides opportunities to develop deeper connections with the world around us. Through the experience of planting seeds, watching them grow, enjoying the harvest and watching plants die, children have an opportunity to explore connections between the living and non-living, fostering a deeper appreciation for the environment. These experiences can also foster connection to oneself through the tactile nature of the experiences and to emotions such as joy, pride, satisfaction, perseverance and grief.

  • Consider raised garden beds in cedar or galvanized metal, plant pots in a variety of shapes and sizes, or repurposed objects such as wheelbarrows, yogurt containers, or tires. Whatever you choose, ensure it is safe and accessible for the children in your program.
  • When choosing soil to include in planters, be careful to choose matter with no added chemicals that could be harmful should a child choose to explore with their taste buds.
  • Select seeds that are hardy enough to successfully survive in the Yukon’s climate while also ensuring they are nontoxic to humans both in seed and plant forms.

  • Consider adding planting experiences to the dramatic play center such as a crate or box with brown felt ‘soil’ and pretend play vegetables.
  • Provide a gardening themed sensory bin with dried beans as the dirt, artificial flowers to plant and a variety of gardening tools for hours of fun.
  • Add artificial plants, large seeds and brown material to the block play center to add a garden connection to their building experiences.
  • Include felt plants or magnets to the storyboard area and plant stamps or stencils to the mark making center to help build meaning making connections between experiences and language development.

"You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow."

Thich Nhat Hanh

Explore

Activity idea:

“Watching a simple bean seed sprout offers children the opportunity to observe and document change over time. As the bean goes through its changes, children can witness the life cycle of a plant and identify the various parts as they unfold before their very eyes.”
 

Materials:

  • Bean seeds
  • Clear glass jar
  • Cotton balls
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Parts of a bean seed template (follow the link to the Playful Learning website below)

The process

  1. Start by gathering a handful of cotton balls and insert them into your glass jar. Make sure that there are enough cotton balls to place sufficient pressure on the side of the jar to hold up a bean seed.
  2. Place one to three bean seeds between the glass of your jar and the cotton balls, leaving enough space for them to grow.
  3. Use your spray bottle to dampen the cotton balls.
  4. Place the jar in a sunny spot and watch nature take its course!

See more resources, books to inspire, and related printables for this activity here: https://www.playfullearning.net/resource/life-cycle-seed/

Grow

“Educators and children recognize that humans and the natural world are connected and mutually dependent on one another and begin to reimagine pedagogies to respond to our environmental crisis.”

(B.C. Early Learning Framework, 2019, p. 85)

Consider these reflective questions:
 

  • How can I encourage children to recognize that humans and the natural world are connected and mutually dependent on one another?
  • In what ways can I acknowledge children’s small moments with ants, birds, or worms as meaningful relationships?
  • What practices do I cultivate that enrich and deepen children’s relationship with place, land, and the creatures and forms within it?
  • What stories do children have of land, place, and the creatures and forms within it?
  • What opportunities do children have to care for their environments?