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How does your garden grow?

Kindergarteners get down and dirty!

It’s Fall, y’all! The temps may indicate otherwise, but the calendar says we’ve entered a new season, and that can only mean one thing at Carrollwood Day School – it’s time for the Kindergarten Garden!

Every year, CDS kindergartners dig deep into the soil of their Earth Boxes, tenderly handle seeds and plants, and start the process of growing their very own fruit and vegetable garden. The garden has been a tradition at CDS for decades; for the past few years, instead of being incorporated into an International Baccalaureate unit of inquiry, the garden is part of a separate science unit focused on growing things.

Before planting even began, the kindergartners created a KWL chart (What do you know? What do you want to know? What did you learn?), which led them to an open discussion about their ideas, prior knowledge, and questions about gardens and plants. With their teachers, they read books about gardening and learned about Earth Boxes and why the sandy Florida soil does not always lend itself to successful gardening. This led to a discussion about what types of plants grow best in the Florida heat, and why certain fruits and vegetables – think apples – just will not thrive in the warm climate.

The highlight of the unit, of course, is the planting and tending of the community garden, a process that incorporates lessons on scientific observation, writing, math, geography, and lots of patience as they wait for the fruits and vegetables to bloom. All four kindergarten classes work together to cultivate one garden on the north side of the ECC.

Over the next few weeks and months, the children will document in their individual plant journals how the produce is growing and when they have ripened enough for harvesting. This exercise is not only fun, but also a great way to teach team building, cooperation, communication, and being inquirers. By mid-November, the kindergarten classes should be able to start sampling the fruits – and vegetables! - of their labor! Gardens include peas, lettuce, broccoli, green beans, and carrots.

Watch their slideshow presentation of the gardening process. And keep checking in for updates!