Before The Boy was born, I was a keen gardener (albeit slightly lazy on the maintenance side) and I'd achieve good results. Unfortunately I haven't grown any vegetables in three years now, but this is the year to change this as The Boy is so interested in where fruit and vegetables come from and how they grow. Understanding 'the world around us' is a part of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and I'm keen to give him activities for contextual and experiential learning as much as possible.
With this in mind, and because it was freezing and I didn't want to stand in the garden in 1°C, I set up a gardening play table for him in his seconded water table.
- seeds (carrot and peas)
- plastic pots (I've used the degradable compost pots before but they never seem to work very well and these are reusable)
- a range of tools (I always provide a range of equipment whatever activity so that he learns which are the best tools for the job)
- paper markers and a pencil (writing opportunities)
He was so keen to get to work and plant the seeds; we had a huge discussion about the differences between a carrot and a pea seed, why the carrot seeds didn't look like a carrot when the pea seed looked like a pea, how the plant would grown, where the vegetable would grow and how big they would be. I can't wait to see his face when the pods start to grow on the pea plants. I've always found pea plants quite high maintainence for very little result, but the look on a child's face when they pop open a pod and see the peas nestled inside is worth it.
One of the things that I was very pleased with was seeing him write the labels for the seeds. I wrote one out so he could see how to shape the letters, but as he hasn't practised many letters outside of his name before I wasn't sure he'd manage it. He studied how I wrote the letters, followed my instructions and wrote them really well. This is a great excuse to get some pre-literacy mark-making practise in without him even realising!