It’s time to think about spring and summer planting. One of the educators calls a meeting of the children. Over the year they have learned all about our garden, about the processes and purposes of planting, watering, weeding, caring. Of the rich harvest we can wash and chop to include in our cooking programme. Gardening is a labour of love and turns into nourishing food. The children also delight in the flowers and scents that come with gardening, wanting to grow plants for beauty and enjoyment as well as food. They embed rich literacy, numeracy knowledge, scientific understandings and artistic skills and ways of seeing as they interact with the garden. They know by now that it is right for them to come together at decision time, to give voice to a year’s worth of memories about gardening.

The educator reminds them how much fun they had in early autumn, harvesting sunflowers that had been planted last year. She flicks back to photos and the children share stories. They cheer approval at the idea of planting more sunflowers but we remind them that by the time our next sunflowers grow they will have moved on to the next house, the children there will have moved on to school. “These sunflowers will be for next year’s children” an educator articulates for them, “for them to enjoy as much as you did.” The children wholeheartedly agree with this plan. Perhaps they realise that moving on to another house will also mean finding garden treasures that they did not plant.

I think back to the beginning of the year watching children move to a new house, seeing the mixed feelings in the educators both joy and pride in sharing what had been planted by last year’s children but also a tendency to remember the growth of children who had moved on. The memories at times became stories, the “new” children looked back on a time in their house before they had joined it. A sense of continuity and historical understanding began…”did they know we would eat the cucumbers?” one child wondered. Working in early childhood is always about planting seeds of further learning, and tending what you may not get to see through all the way. The children begin to understand that the good things of the garden are not only about self-interest, there is something bigger going on. When they eventually go to school, the curriculum will refer to this knowledge as “sustainability” one of the overarching concepts of the Australian curriculum.

For now the children delight in imagining passing on their precious garden to next year’s children, leaving a rich treasure of joy; water melons and tomatoes and sunflowers to harvest. It is quite sophisticated of them to have a sense of future but more than that, there is a kindness and generosity in planting for a time when they will have moved on. There is a trust in a cycle of such plantings, these are children who will look for treasures in their new settings- they have earned the right to such a world-view because they build such futures for others.

“We will get some of the tomatoes” one of my young friends tells me enthusiastically, “we are growing them with basil”.

“The sunflowers will be for next year’s children” he continues, his enthusiasm unflagging, “They are really going to love that.”

Like the garden, the children have had a chance to grow many different types of knowledge over the year; to take it out, examine it more closely and use it in various projects that enrich their days. How heartening that like the garden, the children have sown in themselves seeds of rich and multi-dimensional learning they have tended and protected their beautiful world-view, and have a few more months now to richly explore their by now wholly owned spaces and materials in the company of their friends. Many of these knowledges, even some of these friendships will not fully flower in the house the children are in now.

But what happens over the next few months needs to be bigger than the one year in one place.The children model for me a large and generous hope. Everything we plant in our final season approaching transitions will be valuable and valued. This time of year is rich in potential and what comes next will be joy whether we see it or not.



0 thoughts on “Planting

  • September 30, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Beautiful, thoughtful words, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Fletch was talking this week about leaving his friends and educators to move on to school next year. He said, “Mum I just love Sturt. I’m so lucky I go there. I love that you can see the sea from out verandah, it’s so beautiful!” He also questioning if he will be remembered or forgotten once he has moved on, he thought amazes me sometimes! He has decided that the educators WILL remember him because he is kind and got the first ribbon on the tree this year! He said the Preschool educators will remember him too as he yells to them over the road to make sure they know he is there! He said his friends will always remember him because you can think stuff in your head, your memory is in there and they can think of him anytime!
    Thanks for being amazing!


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