Friday, 8 May 2015

Community Field Experience at the Orchard Garden Week 2

Landed Learning Program at UBC Farm

Our second week has been a a fun week of working with elementary school students. On Wednesday we visited Tyee Montessori Elementary where we had the opportunity to put what we’ve learned about garden-based education to use! We were given the task of teaching garden-based lessons for children from kindergarten to grade 3. After 10 weeks of practicum with high school students, it was wonderful to experience working with much younger children.

Prepping for our lesson at Tyee Montessori Elementary
Our short lessons included identifying plants in the school garden and learning about garden activities that we need to do in order to keep plants healthy: watering, thinning, pruning, staking, composting and weeding. After our lesson, the children got their hands dirty by weeding a garden bed to prepare it for planting. Since we discussed the importance and purpose of weeding, the children were excited to know that they were getting rid of “plant enemies!” It was a tiring but rewarding day, and refreshing to see how excited kids are to be outside and to see the bond that they have developed with the plants they have helped grow in the garden. 

Watering our seeds at the greenhouse.
We also got a chance to visit the greenhouse at UBC which I found rather fascinating. There were many different groups that used the greenhouse, and I hadn’t realized that UBC had so many people who were doing plant-related research. My biggest surprise was to see a papaya tree in Canada! I grew up in Thailand with papaya trees in my backyard, so it was amazing to see a tropical plant thriving on the other side of the world. Brendan Chan, who is working for the SUB Rooftop Garden, showed us around the greenhouse and gave us the opportunity to plant some vegetable seeds and thin some chard seedlings. I was happy to get to do some thinning because up until that point we had talked about it a few times, so it was great to actually put it into practice.

Fresh herbal tea station at Landed Learning
Thursday was another visit to the Landed Learning program at the UBC Farm, this time with grades 3-4 students from Waverly Elementary, which is a different experience compared to the grade 7 from last week. We were tasked with the fresh herbal tea activity where we picked various herbs from the garden and set up a “sampling station” for the students. The kids came to smell the teas and got to choose which type of herbal tea they wanted to make. They then had to go pick their own herbs, put them in a tea bag, and bring it home to their moms for Mother’s Day. It was heart-warming to see kids getting so excited to harvest their own herbs and talking to their friends about what tea they think their mothers would like. 

Through my experience with elementary school children, I have learned that young children are full of energy, excitement, and internal motivation, which seem to decline as they become teenage high school students. The question I am walking away with this week is: What can teachers do to preserve and prolong this motivation and excitement so that our teenagers stay just as excited to learn and be at school. 

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