I am excited and honored to say that I taught my first class during exploratory week at my daughter’s school. The name of the school she attends is called, Aldo Leopold Community School, and every year the last full week is filled with four days of fun, nature influenced, extra curricular classes led by teachers and parent volunteers. This year I chose to run a class of my own. I not only thought of the overall project, but I also wrote the curriculum and planned activities for each day that we would incorporate into the finished product. The name of my course was: Mini Edible Herb Gardens and I guided 8 second and third grade girls on how to identify, appreciate, and plant herbs. We also created figurines out of clay to add to the design of their gardens along with other trinkets. My intention was to teach about the importance of herbs for health, well-being, and the environment as well as, how to incorporate design into our garden spaces when considering the creatures we are trying to invite and how we may need to support our plants as they grow. It was a two hour class for four straight days and by the end it was well worth it, but I was exhausted!
We created, observed, planned, planted and designed. There was happiness, excitement, frustration, and lost patience. The main takeaways were: teachers do A LOT FOR OUR CHILDREN and are not shown appreciation half as much as they should be, children are insatiable and will take as much as they possibly can, they show gratitude in subtle ways other than “Thank Yous,” and no matter how much you plan it is best to be able to improvise and just go with the flow as much as possible. I realized some of the activities I planned were a bit too demanding for the mindset, age group, and patience this group had, but it just meant-I had to work harder to help them and keep them thinking as positively as possible. Less, “I don’t get it,” & “I can’t figure it out,” and more perseverance by saying/thinking “If I keep trying, I can get it!”
The favorites for the kids seemed to be making clay figures, smelling herbs and making sachets, planting, designing, and eating popsicles. The least was coloring (ran out of patience and attention spans) and making trellises/fences with sticks and pipe cleaners (I had to help A LOT with this). In the end every girl’s garden was amazing and unique to their personalities. They incorporated fences, bird baths, benches, animals, gnomes, swings, and metal button flowers into their designs. We planted Lemon Balm, Calendula (Kah-len-juh–luh), Oregano, Spearmint, and Thyme. They each received a coloring book/Weird Kid’s Guide to Herbs (A handmade guide I bought off of Etsy) and gifted one small herb plant in a handmade newspaper pot (which we folded and made) to someone else. Most chose to give it to a teacher! or a parent.
This was such a great experience and a wonderful group of girls. One kept telling me, “This is the best exploratory ever!” and that was the best thank you I could get. Another made sure to just sit quietly and do everything asked without ever complaining, and one asked for my help trying to make as much as she could out of her pipe cleaners and sticks and it made my day because she came up with such unique, creative ideas.
She also knew a lot about gardening and herbs because of her grandmother. It was so neat to learn along with the girls as they worked/created/learned and experience their different personalities.
I was caught off guard because my daughter (above) was the most difficult to please. Proof that the ones closest to us do tend to be our harshest critics=)!
Thanks to my mother, husband, Faye, and Julie who helped along the way as volunteers/photographer/chaperone and to Lisa for allowing me the opportunity to try my hand at teaching! I am so very grateful to have been able to take my passion and share it with others!
Sometimes we had spare time at the end of the class, and I loved that the girls would just sit and play telephone; such a classic, fun game that never seems to get old!
Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did teaching!🌻🌞🐝🦋🏞️