A Bucolic Experience

By Gary Wellbrock

Today we have a guest post by Gary Wellbrock, a teacher at P.S. 347. He accompanied his class of first and second graders to the Learning Garden on  a bit of  a damp morning last week. In his own words:

We ventured off with the first and second graders to the Learning Garden at Randall’s Island Park.

Our outdoor adventure took an unexpected twist due to the capricious humor of Mother Nature but our tenacious guides remained undaunted by the storm.

Instead of frolicking in the rain-soaked outdoor garden, our hosts created an intimate bucolic experience in one of the stadiums. We divided our students into small groups and assigned them to one of the four stations.

1. Painting signs labeling the various fruits and vegetables in the garden.
2. Planting Forget Me Nots in small pots, which we got to bring home!

3. Learning about the parts of a plant (root, stem, seed, flower, leaf) and then tasting some delicious examples of each.

4. Visiting with the baby chicks. This was perhaps the biggest thrill for the children (although I’m not sure the chicks felt the same way).

They spent about 20 minutes at each station before rotating to the next. It was a pleasure to watch them become engaging in each activity, asking questions, working together and having fun.

The Learning Garden program provides an incredible opportunity for city kids to engage in a hands-on sensory exploration of garden activities such as planting, watering, weeding, mulching, composting, recycling and harvesting.

We have a small school garden with a greenhouse–our class is growing basil, rosemary, lavender and marigolds–so these skills are put to the test on a daily basis. Our goal is to provide food for our cafeteria so there are healthy food choices but at the moment the scope is limited. Perhaps experiences like the one we had at the Learning Garden will
motivate and inspire our students to grow the school garden into a larger program.

A huge Thank You to the urban farmers who shared their expertise with us!

We here at the garden had a great time and it was a pleasure having P.S. 347 visit. Please stop by Gary’s Blog at http://www.followingyourbliss.blogspot.com/ to and read the other projects he’s doing with his kids.

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