April is prime gardening season, and the children of Vogel Alcove have enjoyed many opportunities to learn about and engage with plants and flowers as they learn about the natural world.
Our older children got their hands dirty planting lettuce, carrots, peas, spinach and beets, as well as sunflowers. By caring for the plants, the children learn how food is grown and practice taking turns, sharing and working as a team. Gardening also teaches skills like perseverance and patience.
Katie Grimes, Assistant Director Enrichment & Developmental Services at Vogel Alcove, relayed this story:
During the winter, most of our perennials were dormant, and the children often asked when we would have flowers again. I let them know it was too cold now, but that the flowers would return in the spring. In March, the children’s patience was rewarded as bright-blooming violas and pansies popped up in our back garden.
One child said, ‘These flowers are the strong ones.’ I said, ‘Yes, they are resilient, just like you!’
Especially given the unpredictable nature of their living situations, it is critical that our children develop skills like resilience and self-regulation. Once again, a solution can be found in our gardens! In one of the photos below, a Vogel Alcove staff member gently rubs the velvety leaf of a lamb’s ear plant on a child’s arm. The child had been upset all morning but began to calm with her “leaf massage.” The soft, fuzzy lamb’s ear helped the child to let go of her anxiety and rejoin her classmates.
Vogel Alcove’s gardens provide a host of these tactile learning experiences, which are an important part of children’s social/emotional learning.
See below for more photos from our Spring 2017 gardens!