The first full week in March we will be planting flowers in our garden. Each child needs to bring in plants for planting. Each child may bring six flowering plants and two herbs. They need to be at school by Monday, March 3, 2014, since this is the day we will be planting (weather permitting). Your child will get to plant all of his/her own plants with help from a teacher or volunteer. The choice of plants is up to you and your child. Please include your child in the selecting and purchasing process. We will plant any variety of flower, but would prefer a six inch potted plant or smaller. Gallon sized plants are too large for our garden space. If your child would like to plant multiple varieties then that is also wonderful. It would be helpful if the plants already have some buds or blooms on them when they arrive for planting. Since we will be working in the garden for the month of March we want the children to be able to see the plants in flower, be able to cut the flowers to make in-class arrangements, and be able to remove the dead blossoms. We will talk about seeds, and work with seeds in the classroom, but will not be growing flowers from seeds in the garden.

In addition to flowering plants your child may bring two herbs. We currently have plenty of rosemary living in the garden so mint, lavender, dill, and basil varietals are good choices. We will use cuttings from the herbs in class for special snacks, herbal tisanes, a special project for Parent Appreciation, and more.

Please understand that the first week of March, and other days throughout the month labeled as garden days on the class calendar, will be very interactive. Please dress your child in appropriate clothes as they will be in the soil and will be watering and caring for the garden. The children will not be wearing gloves as the tactile interaction with the soil is very important, as in other areas in the Montessori environment. Please do not send in gloves as your child will not be wearing them. If you have concerns about this speak to Ms. Crystal. Sunhats may be sent in if properly labeled with your child’s name. Children need to wear tennis shoes with socks. Girls, who wear dresses, need to wear shorts, leggings, or bloomers under them since they will be crouching and working in the soil. As always we will observe proper hand washing, but you may expect for there to be dirt under your child’s nails, etc. You need to apply sunscreen to your child before he/she comes to school. All gardening work will be done in the mornings, before noon. We will not be applying sunscreen to children due to time allotment and allergy precautions.

This will be a very fun unit for the children. Talking about flowers wherever you see them (in Publix, in parks, at home) will help your child relate flowers around town with flowers in our garden. If you grow flowers at home you may send in cuttings that your child can share with the class. There will be scheduled times when you can come back and see the class garden with your child, but please do not enter the garden area without a teacher’s permission. This will reinforce the rules we will be discussing in class with the children.

We will be having lessons in the garden, learning about appropriate garden and plant care, and will be doing extensions in the classroom. We will talk about garden pests and friends. We will have a worm search during March. Students will learn what resources plants need to flourish and will weed the garden. Please speak to Ms. Crystal with any concerns or questions. Volunteers will be needed on Monday, March 3rd for planting, beginning at 9:10 am. If a grandparent or someone would also like to help he/she is welcome. Each child will need an adult’s help to plant, so the more volunteers we have the better. Adults will help their own child first, and then other children in the garden.

Please speak to Ms. Crystal PRIOR to March 3rd  if you have any questions or concerns.

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