Another lovely day at the CFE!
Today we had the opportunity to explore the school garden at Tyee Elementary School. Tyee is a Montessori school and, with ease, incorporates their school garden in all aspects of daily classroom life.
Our morning started out with a brief introduction to the Montessori philosophy and what a typical Montessori classroom looks like. We were able to observe and explore a Grade 1/2/3 classroom which allowed us to see how a Montessori lesson may be taught, the various manipulatives they have available to them, how they incorporate the garden into their classroom, etc.
Next, we had a tour through the garden which was led entirely by several intermediate students. They were incredibly knowledgeable and were able to answer all of our questions! They walked us through the garden, pointing out various plants and projects. Their garden consisted of eight raised beds filled with vegetables, a pollinator patch, raspberry bushes, apple trees, a variety of herbs, and bins filled with potatoes from the Spuds in Tubs program. Additionally, they had "bug motels" and mason bees to help pollinate their garden.
In particular, the students taught us about how plantain is a natural antiseptic that you can chew and put on insect bites or cuts and that dandelion has a variety of uses such as putting it in salads, using it for tea, and using the stems to make vinegar.
We finished off our morning with a wonderful slideshow put together by one of the staff members. She provided us with a plethora of ideas for garden-based, child-centered lesson plans. In particular, we were rather impressed by the idea of a Pocket Market that involved the entire school using only materials from the garden. Each class would harvest something from the garden and together they would create a shop and sell/trade their item at the market. For example, some students made organic cleaning supplies made from items from the garden. Another class harvested the herbs and sold them. Other examples include: homemade cards, salad dressings, bouquets, and soups.
Tyee Elementary was a welcoming and warm environment. We learned so much about the Montessori program and how to implement a garden at any school - whether they have one started or you're beginning from scratch. It was wonderful to see the school garden in action and to witness the students take such pride and responsibility for it. The benefits of having a school garden were evident and inspiring.
UBC Teacher Education Program Community Field Experience
Lexi.P & Sara.L