We grew both small and large marigold flowers indoors this spring. I love glass jars because we can see the long root system and have such easy visibility as the little seeds sprout and gradually turn into lovely flowers.
Hydrangea Leaf Provocation & Inspiration!
As I run across ideas to try out for the summer I was so happy to see my hydrangea bush so full and pretty again this year! Hydrangeas are so hardy! I thought I’d show you all a picture that captures the beginning buds as they turn into the lovely violet flowers!
I set up an inspiration table with leaves from the tree I forgot what it’s name is and the hydrangea leaves from my bouquets. When looking at plants I always notice the wide array of green shades, so I put out as many different shades of green crayons as I could find. I then proceeded to arrange each picture in a different way. I like to see if a child will notice and comment on the arrangement differences or if the child will simply push it aside and arrange it as they wish.
Children are free to crayon rub with these leaves because they are rough enough to show all the veins. They can count the leaves and the veins, trace the leaf or draw it free hand if they are inspired to do so. They can use each shade of green for whichever method they would like. Using nature is wonderful for not only the visual appeal, but the exploration of how the leaf is constructed. Counting comes into play not just with each leaf, but with the crayons too. Children may also notice the ruffled edges and count each of those as well.
The word “leaf” is only four letters long and can easily be added to a word wall as another commonly used word in the children’s vocabulary. Young children already come to preschool with vocabulary they know, so I respect that they can assimilate many, many more words. I do not expect reading and writing like a kindergarten or first grade aged child, however I believe it is important to expose young minds to our written language. And I have had three year old students in the past who have been able to spell, write and read. So never put up barriers to a child’s natural capabilities, yet do not push if they are not yet developmentally ready.
Setting up this table I have kept in mind that it is a provocation. I am trying not to have expectations as to what direction a child could go with this, but I look forward to how each will interpret this “inspirational provocation”.
Having large windows has been great because the natural light is so abundant! Please let me know what provocations you have recently set up using nature. 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT
The Marigold School of Early Learning