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Post #5. Design a Garden - with KIDS!

Updated: Mar 9

My First Class with Grade 2 Students...

Come along with me on my journey to write a book (working title: "Growing Gardeners") that will inspire and encourage children to design their own gardens and outdoor spaces.


There are many resources out there about designing a child-friendly garden, gardens for children and experiential gardens for young students. This is NOT that.


This blog tracks my journey of finding ways to inspire and encourage children to design their own gardens (real or imagined) while also learning about Landscape Design and Landscape Architecture.

 

My First Class with Grade 2 Students...

GRADE 2'S: Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Gah! How exciting! Today I had the opportunity to teach two, grade 2 classes at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School here in London, Ontario. I had initially reached out over Facebook to my network asking for connections to public school teachers. My friend, Ceris Thomas connected me with the Teacher-Librarian at Jeanne Sauvé - Dawn-Marie Deagle. I am SO VERY GRATEFUL for this connection! Dawn-Marie has me scheduled to come into her library to teach each grade at her school between one and eight. THANK-YOU! Today is only Day#2.


After looking through the Grade 1-3 curriculum, I realized that there are SO MANY opportunities to connect it to Garden Design concepts and that there was NO WAY I could incorporate everything I wanted to into a single 100-minute class.

I decided to focus on a few items in the curriculum that I could expand upon in each class between grades one and three to start:

  • Colour Theory (schemes & the colour wheel)

  • Simple Geometry (circles and squares)

  • Using Geometry to compose numbers and shapes

  • Sorting Data by Attributes (one, two or three depending on grade)

  • Collecting Data (through experimentation, observation & interview)

  • Frequency Tables (taught with me or later with their teacher)

  • Creating and Interpreting Maps

  • Measure & Draw Lengths & Perimeter

  • Communication (spoken & written)

  • Developing Self-Awareness and Identity (through freedom to choose what appeals to them)

  • Thinking Critically and Creatively

  • Scissor Skills

Photo Below: the second class of Grade 2's with their finished gardens at Jeanne Sauvé

*posted with permission*

After teaching the grade 1's yesterday, I wanted to try and keep today's classes as similar as possible so I could better see the differences.


THIS WAS THE PLAN:

  • Short Presentation about myself and what I do as a Landscape Designer

  • ASK children two questions (to compare across grades):

  1. "What IS a Garden?" and

  2. "What will you FIND/SEE in a Garden?"

  • Introduce Colour Wheel & Colour Schemes depending on grade :

  • Monochromatic - Grade 1 (one attribute)

  • Complimentary - Grade 2 (two attributes)

  • Triadic - Grade 3 (three attributes)

  • Have students each pick two opposing colours on the colour wheel they want and they each take the corresponding colour swatches.

  • Have students each pick a SQUARE or CIRCLE shape for their garden

  • Trace out desired shape for each child (with help of Dawn-Marie and the Teacher)

  • Have students cut-out a "window" in the front page without cutting to the edge of the page (Scissor Skills)

  • Have students trace inside of window to copy shape to inside of the booklet

  • Students then cut-out plant photos from the provided seed catalog (Thanks OSC SEEDS!!!) that belong to the colours they selected and glue them inside the shape or "Garden Plot"

  • Students had freedom to glue in any desired pattern within their shape

  • Students got to take home the garden they made and the seed catalog they cut from

Some photos from the class with Grade 2's

*posted with permission*:



THE RESULT (WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED):

The Short Presentation was delivered via Google Slides and a Smart Board. We couldn't draw right on the board while a presentation was playing so we used a large sheet of paper instead


When the Grade 2's were asked "What IS a Garden?", these were their responses. Words/Phrases/Concepts that were mentioned more than once are noted in Bold:


• Place for plantsx3, vegetablesx4 & wildlifex4

• Vegetation

• Pretty flowersx6 and treesx2 that give us oxygen

• You can be calm there with flowers

• You can water them to keep them fresh

• Need waterx3 and sunlightx2 or they will become weaker and thirsty

Fruitsx3

• Animals/bees come and pollinate flowersx2

Leavesx2 shine when the sun hits them

• Where you plant stuff

• Make salad

• Trees & leaves give you fresh air

Rainx2 starts seeds to growx4

• So quiet and nice when it's sunny you can hear birds singing

• Pick food when it's done growing (harvest)

• "Amazing magical place where you can see things growing"

• Animals can eat/foodx4

• Home & plant food for creatures

• Healthy stuff

• Flowers turn into fruit or vegetables

• Backyard plants, flowers & vegetables

• Grow plants for money

• Flying Animals come to garden to eat

• When it rains you can see rainbows in the garden


When the Grade 2's were asked "What will you FIND/SEE in a Garden?", these were their responses. Words/Phrases/Concepts that were mentioned more than once are noted in Bold (Prompts: Bugs, Animals, Plants & People):


Ladybugsx2

• Grasshoppersx3

• Cricketsx2

• Snailsx2

• Butterfliesx2

• Beesx3

• Wasps

• Butterfly eggs

• Slugs

• Beatles

Caterpillarsx2

• Cockroaches

Antsx2

• Spidersx2

• Worms

• Mosquitoes

• Centipedes

• Hummingbirds

Cardinalsx2

• Bluejaysx3

• Lizard

• Birds

• Redwing blackbird

• Garter snakes

• Goose

• Toad

• Duckx2

• Humans

• Red tail hawk

• Falcon

• Fox

• Peacock

• Bunniesx2

• Skunk

• Raccoons

• Rabbit

• Frogsx2

• Mice

• Catsx2

• Moose

• Dogs

• Sparrow

• Chickadees

• Rooster

• Woodpeckerx2

• Crowx3

• Yellow Finch

• Raven

• Chipmunk

• Owl

• Goldfinch

• Robin

• Olive

• Carrots

• Tomatox3

• Lettuce

• Poppies

• Berries

• Lilac

• Violets

• Flowersx2

• Daisiesx2

• Plants that eat bugs

• Sunflowersx2

• Rosex2

• Liliesx2

• Raspberries x2

• Cucumbers/pickles

• Pineapple

• Cherry tree

• Cattails

• Heather

• Blueberries

• Apple treesx3

• Dandelions

• Potatoes

• Lily of the valley

• Tulips

• Maple treex2

• Treesx2

• Grassx2

• Cherry blossoms

• Pumpkin

• Lilypads

• Broccoli

• Strawberries x3

• Orange

• Orange tree

• Lemon tree

• Pine tree

• Christmas trees/spruce

• Birch trees

• Oak trees

• Corn

• Mangoes

Children smelling flowersx2

• Gardenersx3

• Adults

• Visitors

• People playing

• Teachers & students

• Nature walks

• People collecting fruit & things

• Grandpa's & grandma's

• Scarecrow

• Caretakers

• Garden parties

• People cleaning up the garden

• Babies

• Toddlers

• Rolling down hills

• Admiring beautiful things

• Cousins

• Teenagers

• People watering plantsx2

• Making a sunroom for plants

• Planters

  • SHAPE & COLOUR RESULTS:

# STUDENTS: 15(group1) + 13(group 2) = 28

SQUARE SHAPE SELECTED: 17 = 61%

CIRCLE SHAPE SELECTED: 11 = 39%

PURPLE/YELLOW SELECTED: 6 = 21%

GREEN/RED SELECTED: 7 = 25%

PINK/LIME SELECTED: 10 = 36%

BLUE/ORANGE SELECTED: 5 = 18%


Today's class taught me some lessons and leaves me with some more questions:

  • The majority of the students today had not cut-out a "window" before. They were proud they learned something new and did it successfully.

  • I witnessed lots of sharing of plant photos between students (AWE!)

  • Students would tell other students to look at certain photos on a specific page number

  • Students were very excited to share stories about their experiences in gardens. I wish I planned for more sharing time.

  • Student responses to the posed questions were almost romantic or literary such as "Amazing magical place where you can see things growing"

  • A student came up to me after one of the classes and said "Madam, I still don't know how to make a garden." Oh, how I wish I had more time with these young minds!

  • There was some excitement with this group about what I do for my job.

  • Though students were not prompted to arrange their plant pictures in a certain way, there was much more experimentation with pattern and composition happening on their own.

 

Below are RESOURCES that I come across - as I come across them

(see previous blog posts for other resources):

 

Are you teaching garden design to your students?

Are you a parent teaching the concepts to your child(ren)?

Do you WANT to?

I want to hear from YOU! Get in touch!

I'd love to hear your stories, struggles, lessons and explorations in this area.

Shoot me an email at hmjerrard@gmail.com and be sure to subscribe and follow this Blog here:


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