Carrots and Broccoli

Gabby, our nutritionist, visits our class every week for our Think Tank session, which supports our curriculum with food. Healthy food like fruits and vegetables play an important role in our classroom because they teach us about the natural world, are interesting to learn about and come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Not to mention they make a tasty snack.

During a recent Think Tank session we got to explore two interesting vegetables- carrots and broccoli. The children got to put all of their senses to use while investigating the vegetables. Some thoughts and questions that we came across about while exploring the food were:

  • How does it feel?
  • How many do we have?
  • How does it smell?
  • Different shapes and colors

The children made observations using their senses to compare and contrast the two vegetables. This process encourages valuable researching skills such as attention to detail and careful observation. The children enjoyed feeling the different textures of each vegetable and discussing how different they look. One of our favorite things to do was discuss color and smell!

Having a group discussion in which children can share their opinions and observations is important because it allows children to express their thoughts in an encouraging, supportive environment, gives them an opportunity to learn about their peers’ opinions and teaches them to respectfully agree or disagree. All of this is meaningful in building a child’s communication skills, personal relationships and self-confidence.

Along with increasing communication, observational and social skills, this experience also doubled as a math lesson. The children counted the different vegetables. They noted the different shapes and sizes of the vegetables, enhancing shape identification and measurement skills. Also, playing with new or different foods and learning about them in fun, interesting ways increases a child’s chances of enjoying the food more. The more acquainted they are to the food, the more likely they are to feel comfortable snacking on it later. 

A food encounter like this one is important because it allows children to freely explore and become acquainted with a food at their own pace, in their own way. You will notice in several of the photos that some of the children spent time smelling the food by pushing it onto their noses. There were also some children who chose to see if they could combine the two veggies, pushing the carrot into the top of the broccoli. The encounter is based upon each child’s personal interests. We encourage this because we believe that a child’s personal interests drive some of their best personal learning experiences. 

Planting peppers, peas, and squash (Science)

The children have been very excited to help Mrs. Maryam garden outside any chance they get, so we decided to bring some gardening into the classroom! As a part of this indoor gardening endeavor, we planted squash, peas and sweet red bell pepper.

We started off our gardening process by asking the children “What do these seeds need to grow?” The children responded with water, dirt, sun and air. These responses show that the children are taking their prior knowledge about plants, obtained from working in the outdoor garden, and applying it to their new indoor garden.

After our discussion the children began to talk amongst themselves to figure out how much soil they would need. The children used their problem solving, communication and teamwork skills to cooperate with one another and come up with a solution to their soil question. They agreed that they “needed to fill the hole all the way so the seed doesn’t fall out.”

The children then worked together to fill the holes, and put one seed in every spot. Along with this great display of teamwork, the children built their fine motor skills. Handling and planting the little seeds into the soil served as a workout for their hand muscles, increasing coordination and accuracy.

In creating the garden, the children practiced mathematical skills through tasks like measuring the soil. Also, taking care of the indoor garden will require the children to work together to meet the daily needs of the plants. In doing so, they will establish new habits and learn the importance of building routines. Having an indoor garden will also allow the children to more closely examine the plant growth process, make observations and hypotheses about each plant’s progress and practice other important scientific skills.

Having this kind of fun and interesting encounter with plants furthers the children’s understanding and passion for nature, which will establish a sense of environmental responsibility and appreciation. We will check on the progress of the plants every week, and continue to water them daily.