Friday, April 20, 2012

~*~ Indoor Gardens ~*~

Gardening ... I love gardening. I love nature and plants and animals. I set up a terrarium with my preschool group earlier this year. We used an old plastic aquarium. The kids really got into it! Unfortunately it didnt have an air-tight lid which meant it needed to be sprayed alot - and since I took some leave - everyone forgot and many of the plants died.

We also experimented growing wheat seeds in jars which was very successful. You could see the wheat grass, but you could also see the roots in the soil. I found that idea on the internet. The children then took it in a different direction and I remember Miss K suggested that we plant them in the garden ... we did, and they grew. Master X suggested that we grow them in water ... we did, and they didn’t grow. But it was a lesson learned.
I learned a lot and it didn’t cost much. It took time. It took thought. It took planning. It took minimal resources. It’s about being resource*FULL.
Acutally I think back to one of my managers - she wanted the lunch tables to look pretty ... with the three to four serving bowls that the current cook was giving us at each table it wasnt possible with the space we had on the tables and I didnt see the point of putting something on the table that would only get removed right away ... but I was just thinking - jars with plants in them would have been the perfect alternative to the vases with flowers that were suggested. Whether as jars of wheat grass or spider plants or ferns ... I'll keep this in mind for my next employment committment (if I make one!).
Here are some photos of the terrariums I made for myself at home ... They are pretty simple ... just google image "terrarium" and you will get so many awesome ideas! I found a great deal of inspiration for this through google ... I =heart= google.

Here is my assistant ... responsible for quality control and being generally curious about everything.

I used spider plants because they were accessible (i.e. in my garden) and they were small and affordable! I figured if the plants didnt make it, then I could replace them easily enough without disturbing the substrates.

So yeah ... it was pretty straight forward and easy ... I havent added little special things yet like painted stones or trinkets or little figureines ... I thought I would save that for the larger one I will do ... I found some jars at The Reject Shop for $5 with lids - including a funky cookie jar which was rippled ... not sure if it was the best option for a terrarium because the plants would be all distorted ... I ended up buying little mini tea sets  and a bird tote instead! But there are options out there that are super affordable! All the gardening materials I purchased at Bunnings. My assistant was found 12 months ago as a 12 week old kitten on the street at midnight by a neighbour. I'd be lost without him.

If you dont have a space in which you can garden - I know that some services don't have access to gardens - this is a way for you to do something on a small scale inside. And because they are enclosed, they are relatively easy to maintain - i.e. they don't dry out quickly.

If the plants do die, or fail to thrive, this is the time to have those conversations with the children about why that might be happening! Then you are really tackling hypothesizing and problem solving and really engaging with the natural materials!
Now in regards to the EYLF ...

"Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world: Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment:
= explore, infer, predict and hypothesise in order to develop an increased understanding of the interdependence between land, people, plants and animals
= show growing appreciation and care for natural and constructed environment
= explore relationships with other living and non-living things and observe, notice and respond to change
= develop an awareness of the impact on human activity on environments and the interdependence of living things."
Educators can promote this through:
·        " provide children with access to a range of natural materials in their environment
·         model respect, care and appreciation for the natural environment
·         find ways of enabling children to care for and learn from the land"
EYLF, 2009 pp. 29

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