Planting & Growing
In the fall of 2021 our planters were empty. The beauty of a parent-participation preschool is that parents are actively involved, so one of our parents brought in some potatoes for us to plant.
The children planted the potatoes and took great care watering them over the next four and a half months. Watering plants is something our preschool friends loved to do, and they were in control of how much water to give the plants. Some children poured water from the watering can very carefully, being watchful to dispense just enough water for the potatoes to grow. Other children poured with complete abandon! Some of our parents helped with the watering as well and the children would sometimes follow their examples. La Playa families all take ownership because we are a parent cooperative preschool.
Teaching preschoolers to care for plants is an easy task since they are naturally garden-loving beings. Since nature is constantly changing, there is always something new to explore!
Watching the potato sprouts emerge brought lots of questions: “What is it?” “Where is the potato?” “How come it’s so small?” The children continued to explore the sprouts as they grew bigger, resulting in some sprouts being picked too early due to a joyful combination of intense curiosity and just a slight lack of impulse control. They wanted to see what was happening under the soil and picking is the best way to see that!
At the beginning of harvest time the preschoolers were so excited! We talked about how we could cook them and what kinds of foods were made from potatoes. This was a great way to bring up diverse interests. Some friends like mashed potatoes and some don’t, and everyone’s interests are accepted. We don’t “yuck” a friend’s “yum”.
Picking, cleaning and cutting the potatoes involved the entire group of children. Some preschoolers picked and cleaned them while another group of friends sorted…size sorting is a great math activity! Then we all worked together to finish prepping the potatoes to be roasted in the oven. In a play-based preschool everything can be used as teaching time.
The children of La Playa were involved every step of the way in our potato curriculum: learning how to plant, care for, clean, cook and eat them!