I once heard a garden coordinator say that she tried to never work in the garden alone–she always invited someone to join her. In that way, she was always building the knowledge and skill base of other volunteers—and she always had company!
Sometimes it takes me a while to remember that most every garden job can be used to teach something. All month I’ve been passing our garden bulletin board and thinking, “Oh dear, that really needs updated!” And then it occurred to me to offer a bulletin board making activity for NEAT day, an hour of enrichment on Friday afternoon.
I gave the four students the information that needed to go on the board: newspaper clippings and information I wrote on cards. Then we talked about palette–about choosing a color scheme that guides what colors you choose for a project. (Thank you artist friends for helping me to think like this!) We pawed through big boxes of handmade and recycled papers, talking about mixing in texture. We discussed accents and surprises and splashes of whimsy to make something more interesting. I told stories about the scraps of paper in the box (like the remnant of marbled paper I brought from Italy, the handmade pieces I had picked up at fair trade stores and the scraps I had collected from Christmas cards and wrapping paper.)
Then the kids went for it. The result was sweet and colorful, and they were very proud of it. We’ll change it next month, with another group of students, and learn some more.
I love seeing the kids participation in every aspect of the school garden 🙂
It’s tempting to have adults do many of the garden jobs (and many times we simply have to for different reasons) but it’s always so satisfying to think of ways to teach kids through their involvement. And it’s very true—they absolutely believe the garden is all theirs—and it is!
I especially liked the note at the bottom about the artichoke plant. Volunteers cut one of ours off at the ground because it looked like a weed.
You are right about each activity being a teachable moment. Sounds like you found the perfect intersection of your passions, skills, and interests. Not many of us live long enough to find that. Congrats!
What a nice thing to see in this post and then affirm, Stan. I walked out to the garden today, with the sun shining and so many good projects ready to go, and felt like a garden coordinator at a school is one of the best jobs I could ask for.