Preparing the Indoor Environment

PREPARING THE INDOOR ENVIRONMENT

Purpose:
To introduce the children to the care of living plants.
On an informal level, to introduce our use of plants, our dependency on plants for food and aesthetic reasons.
To stimulate interest in plant life.

Age:
3+ years

Material:
Choice of plants
Tools for the care and maintenance of plants and flowers.
Equipment for making products with plants and flowers.

Presentation A: Everyday life activities: watering, misting, removing dead leaves and flowers, washing leaves.
Your choice of plants is important, consider the amount of light the classroom receives.
Start with a few plants and expand the number with success.
Choose plants which are interesting for different reasons, i.e., flowering, non-flowering, different leaf shapes, edible, non-edible.
Early in the year give a lesson on how to care for each plant.
Removing dead leaves and washing leaves are interesting exercises.
You may also make up a card for each plant which includes the following information: its name, where it was originally grown/came from, its watering and care needs and any interesting facts concerning the plant.

Presentation B: Rooting, potting and repotting, plant propagation.
Repotting a plant can be a very nice small group activity.
Plant propagation can be very interesting, i.e., start with seeds or a sprouting bulb.
The more ways of propagation you show the children the better it is for their understanding.
Books on plants provide further information for the children.
Encourage children to make a booklet for themselves, drawing a picture of what they did at each step.

Presentation C:
Flower arranging, pressing and mounting specimens, making sachets.
Flower arranging is a further way to enjoy plants.
Refer to the write up found in the Practical Life Manual.
A plant press can be made of layers of cardboard and newspaper.
The children could make their own press or you may have a commercial one they can all share.
The children can identify the various leaf shapes and create booklets.
In addition, children can make cards from mounted pressed flowers and greenery.
Children enjoy making sachets of pot pourri with dried flowers.

Presentation D:
Food Preparation
Introduce plants on a sensorial level with an emphasis on taste.
Include fruits and vegetables as part of the snack table.
Fresh juice squeezed by hand is always popular.
Discuss what part of the plant is edible, i.e., leaf, root, etc.
Nutmeg or cinnamon can be grated and used in cooking or taken home.
Planting a fruit or vegetable and then eating the produce is a great project.
An herb garden can provide many activities. Sprouts are also fun to grow and tasty.
In addition, you may wish to explore the importance of smell to taste.
Remember, what you are trying to give the children is a total experience with plants.

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