“As very young children interact with supportive adults and explore the world around them, they are discovering
who they are, how their bodies work, and how they fit in within their environment. The also
begin to develop concepts that form the foundation for their emerging mathematical and
scientific knowledge.” from Early Head Start Math/Science Sheet
There’s no doubt, I love this age MUCH more than the infant stage of development. Being a preschool teacher I suppose it makes sense, young kids are what I know, not infants. And while they are cute and cuddly, as Klayton says, they really don’t interact much with the world around them. This is what I love. Being a preschool teacher I also have a great appreciation for early development and the foundation that is sets for the lifelong learning. Now, I am also a fanatic about my flower gardens. Klayton and I keep adding more, and adding more to what we already have. We just can’t stop. It’s kind of an addiction for us. Before preschool ended this year we planted grass with the children. I had a few that didn’t make it home with their planters, so I brought them for Ellie to play with on our deck. I know, I know, most people would say: she will dump the loam out, she will tear the grass, she will make a mess and get all dirty. Well yeah! She might. And that would be ok. But I could also take it further and begin to teach her how to care for things that grow. Besides, are children ever to young to encourage responsibility and independence? I think not.
So, on Wednesday we set out to plant some morning glory seeds. Ellie helped me to shovel loam into a small planter. Then I showed her how to make a hole in the loam for the seeds to go in. Of course, the whole time I was talking away, explaining to her exactly what we were doing. “Now, there are three things that seeds need in order to grow: dirt, which we have here, sun, which is in the sky, and water, from the rain or your watering can.” A bit of language and concept development…what can I say, it’s a habit. Next I showed her how to put the seeds into the hole that we made.
I have to admit I was a bit surprised, but she ever so carefully took each teeny tiny seed and placed it gently into the dirt. She helped me to cover the seeds with some more loam, and I explained why we did this as well. Then I gave her the little watering can we picked up from the Dollar Store that morning. She has seen me use my watering can a million and ten times so she knew just what to do!
Without me asking, she went ahead and watered her grass as well. She caught on fast! Did she get dirty? Oh yeah. Did she learn anything? Most definitely! Will I ever know exactly what she learned? Probably not, but I sure could see those little wheels turning through that twinkle in her eye and the furrow of her brow. Now, every morning when I open the screen door to the deck she climbs on out, goes right to her watering can and waters all three of her plants. Then she gently feels her grass and pats the loam covering the seeds. Toddler science…wicked fun for both Ellie and I. Now if only those seeds would go ahead and germinate (yes I explained to her all about germination already)!
I thought that this would be the end of out little (or was it big?) planting adventure. But yesterday our local greenhouse (FINALLY) got annuals and perennials in stock, and of course we had to go check it out. Ellie was in her glory! She held me or Daddy’s hands walking through the rows of perennials, stopping to bend over and smell each bloom that she passed by. She felt the different textured leaves and played in the bark mulch. Inside of the greenhouse she was beyond excited. She pointed to all the annuals and said “Mmmm” and sniffed them all. Maybe we have a little gardener on our hands, good thing too! All those weeds will need pulling soon. Next science lesson, weeds vs. plants?! I think that this summer will likely bring many more garden and plant related adventures for Ellie and I.