"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful."
-E.E. Cummings, In Just-
After two days of frost, drizzle, and even a light dusting of snow, the storm finally cleared enough for us to don our Wellies and resume our Spring planting.
Needless to say, there was a lot of important work to be done: puddles to jump in,
mud to muck in, damp garden beds to explore with friends (populated with an abundant supply of wriggling worms, frenzied birds, the first radish sprouts, and wild mushrooms poking up between the garlic bulbs),
and one of my favorite language lessons: writing the garden. In Montessori classrooms, children repeatedly trace sandpaper letters to learn the correct formation of letters. As a result, once they acquire the finger strength and fine motor coordination necessary for handwriting, they usually explode into the "spontaneous" ability to write letters, numbers, and words. This is very exciting for the child! Upon discovering that they can write, most children desperately want to write everything (names of their friends, the menu from lunch, letters to their parents, etc). This morning, one boy appointed himself the task of making his own signs for the garden and walking outside to stake them in their correct spots in the raised beds. I must say, they turned out quite nicely.
Later, we went out as a group and planted four kinds of heirloom beans- some pretty stringless ones in assorted colors for eating (Red Swan, Climbing French, and Golden Crescent) and some for shelling (Slow Foods Arc of Taste Hidasta)- some peas (Dwarf Gray Sugar and Green Arrow for shelling), and some broccoli raab/rapini (pungent, Italian "broccoli"- actually a relative of the turnip).
We concluded our planting with a little tasting of some broccoli, sugar snap peas, and haricot vert that was very well received.
My sincerest thanks and gratitude to Anna Applebaum at Mapleton Montessori (Boulder, CO) for the "Writing the Garden" work. I never think of Summer in your classroom without envisioning children hand writing lists of vegetables they want to plant in the garden and their darling handwritten garden signs.