Spring Planting and Bug Love
In April our curriculum focus was on bugs- specifically the anatomy and life cycles of insects, the categories and characteristics of what makes an insect (head, thorax, abdomen, exoskeleton, antennae, 6 legs), and the astounding array of bug life in the garden, both beneficial and non-beneficial to gardeners. Younger students read books about honey bees, examined honeycomb, and sang insect anatomy songs. Older students went on bug hunts in the garden, drew their findings, played 'Insect Red Light Green Light', and 'Pollination Match'. All students tasted edible kale, chive, and arugula flowers in the garden and learned to identify both pollen and nectar. Third grader: "I'm addicted to these kale flowers!"
Some kids are just naturally fascinated by bug life and comfortable with handling all squirming creatures they find outdoors. Some are not. We never force these experiences and always emphasize being kind and gentle to any living thing we find in the garden. This month is a great practice in facing any fears with bees- learning how to stand still like a statue and carefully watch the busy insects crawl in and out of flowers- their back legs coated in pollen, or find the most gigantic earthworm and see if it has a clitellum indicating eggs soon to be layed.
Due to the very wet spring (aka winter this year) we also discovered lots of snails and slugs :) And although students know they are not beneficial to the garden (banana slugs are great in a forest setting), we still practice gentle handling of them as we carefully remove them from veggie plants and put out in the grass.
Along with lots of exploration in April we also diligently started our spring planting- this year was challenging with the weather but working around thunderstorms and mud, students planted radishes, lettuce, arugula, potatoes, carrots, parsley, beets, and marigolds. Now just waiting for the sunshine...