Hello GAP families!
Spring is a busy time in the garden, and after a long wet and cold late winter and early spring, we have a lot to do to get ready for summer. Every day we have a garden task to complete. This past Thursday and Friday we were stepping up tomato plants from their four-inch pots to gallon containers. We will be working on the beds next week as this week got too hot for successful planting.
A reminder of our (rough) daily schedule:
3-3:40pm Prepare snack, eat and clean up.
3:40-4:30pm Recess/outside play. Art4 Life kids are still out until 4pm, so they have a little time to play with friends that are in that program. The kids need this time to play, be physical, interact with peers, and enjoy free time in the garden to nibble on spring flowers and greens.
4:30-5pm Garden tasks and programmed activities
5:00-5:30pm Second recess (They love this!)
Please remind your child that garden tasks are an important part of GAP. Some are having a hard time transitioning from free play to structured activities at 4:30, even though they know this happens every day. In all gardens, only about 10 percent of gardening is planting, with 70 percent dedicated to weeding/pruning and 20 percent to tending the beds and plants. We need your help reminding students that our garden time is important, and that focus and attention helps get the jobs done, and done well. Sometimes, we do journaling, drawing, scavenger hunts, games and things that are a lot of fun in the garden, AND we have work to do. It takes a community and a lot of people to make the gardens productive and beautiful. Your kids are the ones who primarily care for the gardens, and we thank you for choosing the garden program for your after school care.
Also, a reminder that our classroom is a nut-free zone. Any snacks that your kids bring from home should be nut free or consumed before GAP. We provide gluten free, dairy free alternatives.
Also, please be sure you have Julie’s phone saved in your contacts. If there is a change of plans for your child (absence, different pick up people, stuck in traffic.) please let her know at by texting 925-705-6276.
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See you in the garden!
Julie, Riley and Ariel
Flower buds and lush green leaves have returned to the Garden of Wonders. As we all shake off the long, chilly winter, the garden beckons us with much work to be done! Our spring cleaning kicked off with students helping pick up trash from the native area and garden, planting violas and strawberries, and weeding multiple different plots.
Though it is tempting, we ask that you please remind your children that bulb flowers like tulips and daffodils should not be picked.
A typical GAP afternoon kicks off with free time in the classroom or the chance to prepare the class snack. This week we made celery critters together using grapes, tomatoes and pretzels in an “ants on a log” fashion – sans peanut butter, of course. We also prepared a lovely frittata together using chard from the garden, which was a big hit with the kids.
After snack, students are usually given a half hour or more of free play outside. Favorite games include lava monster, marketplace exchange, and hide and seek. After recess, the kids are often split into smaller groups to engage in a garden activity. One of their favorite recent garden activities was drum circle weeding. To help make weeding less of a chore, we allow subsets of the groups of students to drum on their weed pails as the others dance and weed. After a few minutes, they switch.
Another garden-themed activity that’s been a favorite in the past few weeks has been You’re Only Safe If… This is a version of tag where the educator says something like “You’re only safe if you're touching chard!” All the students must then run to find chard before they get tagged by the educator. If they are not safe, they join the team of taggers.
We’ve already had so much fun this year, and we thank you for your continued support!
Julie, Riley and Ariel