The Vegetable Garden at Nomura Preschool
As Spring blossoms into Summer in the San Francisco Bay Area, students at Nomura Preschool are observing the little seeds they sowed back in February turning into fully grown vegetables. Come harvest time, students and their parents share the bounty of lettuce, broccoli, bush beans, carrots, spinach, green onions, assorted colored peppers, pumpkins (which the gardeners at Nomura hope to use for Halloween!), and sunflowers.
The garden is a full school effort. Each class picks a vegetable they want to plant, then sows the seeds in the raised beds (one is 12′ x 12′, the other is 16′ x 4.5′) and waters them with a gentle spray. While the plants grow and take shape, the children observe the whole life cycle of the plants. They learn where fresh natural food comes from, and they learn the various parts of the plants and how all those parts work together. The kids also discuss and observe how beneficial ladybugs and bees are to the health of the garden.
The garden is a delightful exercise for the children, with watering and picking as the favorite activities. They are invited to see, touch, feel, smell and taste for themselves how plants start from seeds and grow all the way to their food-bearing stage. They are amazed by the roughly 90-day process and willingly let the natural cycle take place with patience and joy.
When it’s time to harvest, the teacher demonstrates, then offers time for each child to practice and learn. The bounty of vegetables is then shared with all teachers, children and parents.
When asked what advice the gardening teacher would give to parents who want to involve their child with the gardening at home, she said, “Do it together, be patient, and most importantly – have fun!”