When a five year old child puts a bean in a small cup, adds soil and a little water, he does not really understand what he is doing.
There is nothing so precious as to see his face on the morning he discovers a plant has sprung from the soil, with the shell of the bean still attached to the seedling. Many children grow up completely removed from where their food grows. Having a vegetable garden that your child participates in caring for is by far the most effective way to encourage them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately time and space do not allow every family to have a garden, but every child who attends Mareas International Home School is getting the experience in Miss Angela’s gardening class.
Angela Mohr is a US native who has dedicated her life to educating children around the globe, both as a teacher and as a consultant to educators. She has taught in Pakistan, Indonesia , and the Caribbean. Her passion for life and learning is infectious and she understands the importance of instilling a life long love of learning in children by making them feel connected to what they study.
The children could read about plant structure and growth cycles in books and do worksheets filing in the names of each part of the plant, but will they remember the worksheet or the fact that they saved scraps from the lunch room and turned them into soil, and that the plants that got soil made from food scraps grew faster and stronger than those in regular soil?
These children are learning about the impact that their living habits can have on the environment and the rewards of planning and hard work. They are learning about loss, when the leaf cutter ants dismember their work over night, but also about resilience, determination and the rewards of persistence when working toward a worthy goal.
When I taught an art class at the school and asked the children in grades 1-6 to design their own superhero, I was delighted by the creativity these children expressed. I expected a lot of super heroes who fought bad guys and made homework disappear. What I got was superheroes who turned cars that pollute into toy cars so they would stop stinking up the air, a super hero who got her energy by soaking up the flames in brush fires to protect our forests, superheroes that protected pets and wildlife, or even just made people be nice to each other.
When a child plants a seed and watches it grow, another seed is planted. That child is forever connected to the earth and open to life’s possibilities.