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Farmers as scientists, students as caregivers

Kindergarten green group threw a pancake party on Wednesday.


The syrup came from the sap they'd tapped from a maple tree here on campus a few weeks ago.


Other farming projects were just beginning.


Preschool was running a few plant experiments in their classroom.


Experiment one: if a seed had air, water and sunshine, would it even need soil?


They've wrapped seeds in damp paper towels and hung them in their window to find out.


Experiment two: which grows faster, a radish, an onion or a carrot?


The class planted all three alongside one another, and are giving them each the same care.


The stems and leaves sprouted quickly but, as the class learned from their reading, the real action with these vegetables is underground.


Then, there were the animals.


Kindergarten red group was trying free range snail farming.


Outside the classroom door, students had curated a habitat for a handful of garden snails


The snails escape but, being snails, they don't get very far.


Students were checking on them every hour or two, and peeling the strays off the school and returning them to their bin.


Chicken eggs had arrived on Monday.


They were three days into incubation.


Young Kindergarten had dissected hard-boiled chicken eggs to get oriented to membranes, yolks and whites.


Every day, students were making informed guesses about what might be going on under the shells.


The chicken eggs have been joined by painted lady butterfly cocoons and praying mantis eggs (which are protected by a hardened mass called, thrillingly, an "ootheca").


Preschoolers kept busy comparing and contrasting the life cycles of all three.


Science in Early Childhood includes drawing.


It includes counting.


It includes reading.


It even includes some imaginative movement as the students imagine bursting from a cocoon.


The irony may be lost on the students.


But the adults in the room can't help but smile, watching these young farmers and scientists find such joy as younger, smaller things burst into life.


A look back at Grandfriend's Day 2018, which coincided with the hatching of the Early Childhood butterflies

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