In Vogel Alcove’s Nature Explore-certified outdoor classroom and vegetable, sensory and wildlife gardens, our children get to see, hear, touch, smell and (sometimes) taste flowers, fruits and vegetables. They take pride in helping things to grow. And, when the time is right, they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor – literally!
Recently, a group of children tromped out to the garden with Enrichment Specialist Katie Grimes to harvest their first watermelon. They peered under the leaves to see the bulbous fruit, and Ms. Katie showed them how to knock on the watermelon to see if it’s ripe enough to eat. Then they got to take turns holding the melon and sharing it with friends. Finally, the children brought the watermelon to the Vogel Alcove kitchen, where Chef Tina Barerra sliced it. Then the children went to their classroom to eat.
In addition to enjoying a delicious, healthy snack, the children learned about patience, sharing, empathy and science by growing, nurturing and harvesting the watermelon. Gardening provides many opportunities to teach and emphasize social/emotional skills that children living in trauma may have a difficult time developing. Many thanks to Ms. Katie, Chef Tina, the classroom teachers and everyone who helped make “watermelon day” such a fun and educational experience!