Our School’s spring outdoor education successes:
Brechin’s garden classes focused on the “Ecosystem of Compost” this spring as part of our Farm2SchoolBC project.
While our kits contents were being developed we started talking about and working with compost at different levels of decomposition, seeing it around us at all times and appreciating the mini world of life that exists within our garden soil, feeding the plants we grow. Some lesson plans we developed included discussions of:
- 4 Ingredients of Healthy Compost: Air, Water, Browns & Greens
- De-Composition: Rot allows for abundant life! Rates of decomposition and mold; compost in a bag
- Compost Critters are Super Heros: Compost doesn’t NEED critters to decompose/work but the process is a lot easier/more efficient when worms (and other critters) help out! Levels of decomposers – picky eaters.
- Compost is FOOD for plants and applications: natural vs synthetic fertilizers, manure, compost teas, wild plants and bubblers, how-to feed our school garden compost
Kindergarten through grade 7 participated in growing, watering, weeding and eating our garden produce. Our staple favourites included: kales, chards, pea shoots & leaves, sorrel, chickweed, calendula, violas, beets and radishes!
SOIL Lit Kit Pilot Project phase 1
Together with the guidance of the Nanaimo Foodshare SOIL Lit Kit team our school educators/parents/supporters participated in an advisory committee to discuss what materials, learning tools, objectives and lesson plans would most benefit our school’s classes to either learn outside or bring outdoors with hands-on learning in the classroom.
Nanaimo Foodshare facilitated two SOILAC meetings to help define these goals as well as work towards how best to incorporate the new BC curriculum into each lesson plan with supportive assessment materials. SOILAC school participants collaborated and cross-pollinated ideas, supports and solutions to concerns. Our outline to complete 4 kits around different garden/environmental themes was supported and adapted to what best worked for our SOILACs. Contents for our first kit theme was developed “Ecosystem of Compost” and includes:
- a comprehensive compost teaching resource binder (located within the school photocopy room as well as an online PDF for school educators to also provide editing input)
- a grab-and-go concise binder with only grade-specific lesson plans, assessment tools and compost vocabulary that relates to the materials found in the material kit
- a material kit tote which contains all supplies uncommon in the existing school supplies which are included in the compost lesson plans for enhanced hands on and experiential learning
As this was the first SOIL Lit Kit developed (1 out of 4) we realized our original timeline was unrealistic and that we did not have time to fully incorporate the kit (material totes specifically) into all garden classes this spring. We will continue developing the remaining kit contents over the summer and fall to be implemented in the fall, winter and next spring school year.
all photos taken by Chrys LoScerbo