Indian Harbour Montessori School promotes education, health, and wellness, by connecting children to the natural world through organic gardening.
Ms. Theresa Trawick is helping children establish a positive relationship with their natural world by simply opening the door of the classroom. She uses the vegetable garden as a place to enrich the classroom lessons and allow students to experience learning from their own observations–all while munching on fresh vegetables picked from the garden!
“Third and fourth grade students truly love their garden work! Many even ask to spend their recess time here, planting seeds, thinning seedlings, potting newly rooted plants from the propagation bed, pulling weeds, and their favorite – harvesting. Besides a wide assortment of vegetable, including carrots, tomatoes, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, and radishes, (just to name a few), we have also harvested pineapples and sweet potatoes from last year’s efforts. In addition we have hydroponic tower full of herbs that the children can pick as they choose, and all can identify them by taste and smell: cilantro, basil, sage, parsley, scallions, and several varieties of mints. Most students consider the garden to be their favorite place at school.” ~ Ms. Trawick
Dr. Montessori concluded, “Solicitous care for all living things affords satisfaction to one of the most lively instincts to the child’s mind. Nothing is better calculated than this to awaken an attitude of foresight.”
Elementary students use the garden in all parts of the curriculum. The students help design and maintain the gardens applying math and life-cycle lessons as well as science. Best of all the students get to harvest from the seeds they plant and proudly talk about and try the foods they have grown. It’s incredible to watch the children’s amazement as they pull up a carrot. It’s even more incredible to see so many children get excited to plant and eat their harvests of kale, tomatoes and other freshly picked produce. The food from the garden is often used for bread baking.
Every Monday, two students (rotating through the class) have the job of “Breadbakers”. They choose the recipe beforehand, and make sure they have all the ingredients available. Some of their choices have been whole wheat Pumpernickel Bread, Quinoa & Oats, Apple Cinnamon, Carrot, Raisin and Nut, Thyme and many more. The students do the work; each one responsible for measuring all the ingredients going into the loaf. The classroom has two bread machines, and all of the students sure enjoy smelling the delicious aroma as the day progresses and gets closer to the time when the two bakers serve the bread.
“It’s a great way to start our week!”, said Ms. Trawick.
In the end, these real experiences from the garden to classroom are keeping a sense of wonder alive in our students, which is one of the most valuable ways we can support our natural world and see the health and wellness of future generations.