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Awarded Grant Summaries

Preschool Gardening Study

Michelle Purcell, Preschool Teacher, 2020-2021 School Year

Description & Need:
The preschool gardening study will allow children a hands-on opportunity for exploring the growing process of seeds, plants, and flowers.  This study will increase the children's knowledge and interest in nature and science.  The goal of this study is that preschool students will gain a greater appreciation for growing plants.

How project meets Instruction Goals and Mission Statement:
The preschool classrooms currently use The Creative Curriculum for Preschool Foundational Units of Study.  Creative Curriculum is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that promotes exploration and discovery as a way of learning, enabling children to develop confidence, creativity and lifelong critical thinking skills.  With the addition of the Creative Curriculum Preschool Gardening Study, teachers will have a curriculum to guide children's learning about nature and plants.  Creative Curriculum stimulates a child's curiosity for learning through hands on experiences and books relevant to the topic, small group work, music and movement activities, as well as incorporating math and science concepts into every study.

Major Objectives: 
1.  Children can state what is needed for plants to grow - soil, air, light and water.
2. Children can identify the parts of a plant to include the seed, roots, stem, leaves and flower.
3. Children will make observations about why some seeds are growing better than others.
4. Children will plant flowers and grass seeds and measure and chart the growth.
5. Children will share their new interest and discoveries with their parents during a May parent-child social.

Teaching Methods:
1.  This unit of study will include lots of hands on opportunities for the children to dig in the dirt, plant seeds, and water them.
2.  Books will be read to the students to help them gain new information.  Books will be provided in the science area for them to read and look at during work and play time.
3.  Visual cards and games will be available for the students to match pictures of the life cycle of seeds and different types of flowers and vegetables.
4.  Music and movement will include singing simple songs about planting seeds with actions.
5.  Charting the growth of plants will be used for including math concepts in this gardening unit.
6.  Charting the daily weather will offer conversations about what plants need to grow.
7.  Art activities will include painting with leaves and other parts of a plant.  They will also include drawing the life cycle of a seed.  Children will use their creativity to design a flowerpot to be given to their parents.
8. Videos showing planting on a large scale, such as a farmer in a cornfield, will be shown to relate this study to agriculture in our community.

Grade Level Impacted:
Preschool Level at all 4 elementary sites that provided preschool.

Additional Materials: 
Consumable materials will be required from the District to implement this project on a yearly basis.  The curriculum study guides would be used every year, but the hands on growing materials would need to be purchased by each elementary yearly.

Project Evaluation:
1.  Students will be able to answer "wh" questions related to each activity.
2.  Students will use new vocabulary words during classroom activities.
3.  Teachers will take pictures of all planting and growing experiences to enhance children's learning.
4.  Teachers will use documentation of children's work in Teaching StrategiesGOLD assessment required by the state.