|My Grade One students gathered around our school's indoor fig tree,|
doing "close looking" and recording their observations.
In Reggio Emilia circles, they talk about the environment as the third teacher (after the student's parent and teacher, and his or her peers). In my school, one of the notable features of our indoor environment is a beautiful, mature fig tree -- a little bit of green-and-growing life in the dead of our northern winters. This tree is a landmark in our school, as well as a kid magnet. (I found one of my students hanging by both arms from a lower branch one day! I wonder how many others have tried to climb it?) It's a provocation just waiting to happen.
So when we began to talk about living things, we sat down and really looked at our tree. For the first time, many of the kids noticed that there were little "nuts" or "berries" on it. I explained that these were figs, and that they were the fruit of this tree, although they would never grow big enough or ripe enough to eat.
We took some back to our classroom, and left them at our garden table. The kids looked at them with magnifying glasses and discovered seeds. They wanted to know if the seeds would grow, so we planted them.
Now I'm not an expert on horticulture, but my guess is that the fig seeds won't grow. However, the seeds of curiosity and wonder will, I hope, continue to grow in my kiddos.
|Some of the drawings they made and labelled.|