Growing a plant

Age3-6
ValueEthical & Social
LocationIndoor
TopicPatience
OverviewExplore the meaning of patience and its importance in different situations. Patience will be connected to nature, children will learn in which situations nature takes some time to develop. Explore the origin of impatience: where does it come from, in what (daily) situations do children get impatient and how can they learn that patience can lead to a larger reward.
Learning objectivesRecognize where impatience comes from in everyday situations and associate it with emotions Develop an understanding for the needs of all living beings (humans, animals, plants) and that each is unique Understand that dealing with feelings is a learning process Develop an understanding of longer lasting processes in nature.
Skills developedUnderstanding the needs of others Self-regulation Fine motor skills Understanding for longer processes in nature Care with living beings/plants
MethodCrafting lollipop sticks with happy/angry face, questions/discussion, planting, documenting
MaterialsA4 coloured paper (e.g., red and green) or blank, scissors, glue, pencil, crayons, bowl or similar, short branch, sellotape, flower pot, soil, seeds, watering can, possibly fertiliser, documentation sheet and/or camera/smartphone (for documenting), ruler
GuidelinesWe recommend that you divide the four steps over several days. Each activity will approximately take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
Step 1: Craft lollipop sticks with happy/angry face
Depending on the stage of development, the children need support with handicrafts.
Take a sheet of paper (e.g., red) and place the bowl with the opening on it. Draw a circle with a pencil around the bowl. Repeat this process on another sheet (e.g., green). Draw a happy facial expression on one sheet and an angry one on the other sheet and cut them out. Stick the two paper circles together so that you can see the laughing face on one side and the angry face on the other. Then attach the glued-together facial expressions to the branch with sellotape.
Step 2: Exploring emotions
After finishing the handicrafts, sit down with the children in a (chair) circle and ask them questions about how they perceive different situations in everyday life. After each question, the children demonstrate their lollipop sticks with the facial expression that expresses their corresponding emotional state.
Example questions:
  • How do you feel when you want your mum or dad to read to you, but they don’t have time now and tell you they will do it later?
  • How do you feel when you are hungry now, but the teacher tells you that lunch time is not now but at noon?
Ask the children what they think will happen if they have to wait. Can they have the toy at the end or not? Can they slide at the end or not? etc.
Analyze together with the children, using their own ideas and thoughts, that if they wait in those situations, their needs will still be met.
Then, transfer these processes to nature. For example, ask the children what plants they know and if it takes them long(er) to grow and therefore it is a longer process before they can harvest fruit/vegetable or similar. You can work with the lollipop sticks again and see how the children feel about longer growing plants. Connect patience with the reward of harvesting and eating fruit/vegetable or a beautiful flower they can watch/give to someone etc.
Step 3: Planting
We recommend sowing plants where fruit/vegetables can be harvested, such as tomatoes, strawberries, herbs or similar.
Put soil and seeds into the pot together with the children. Then, decide together when watering will be done and by whom. Regular watering and measuring (documentation process) could, for example, become part of the circle time. You can either do the documentation on the documentation sheet and/or you can take photos with the smartphone and develop them little by little and hang them up in the room. This way the children can see what was at the beginning and what will be at the end and how their patience has paid off (harvest).
Step 4: Reflection
We recommend doing step 4 several times during the growth process of the plant.
Sit with the children in a circle with their lollipop sticks with happy/angry faces and ask them about their emotions regarding the growing process. The children are supposed to demonstrate whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied.
TipsAdditional materialsHow to apply online?What to do at home?Alternative to the flower pot (if applicable): bed > location: outdoor
Documentation procedure: Plant is measured with a ruler, entry in the sheet with date
Recommended time: We recommend that you divide the four steps over several days. Each activity will approximately take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
Recommended group size: It is suitable for both smaller and larger groups.
Establish documentation process of plant: daily/every two days measurement or similar, how far grown, watering, several weeks depending on the plant.
What you need to know about the topic before you start:
Marshmallow test according to Walter Mischel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcmrCLL7Rtw
https://longnow.org/seminars/02016/may/02/marshmallow-test-mastering-self-control/ (starting from minute 4)
Self regulation
https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/behaviour/understanding-behaviour/self-regulation#:~:text=Self%2Dregulation%20is%20the%20ability,continues%20to%20develop%20into%20adulthood.
Planting
https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-tomatoes/
https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-grow-strawberry-plants-in-pots-1401968
https://www.thespruce.com/growing-herbs-in-pots-getting-started-3876523
The activity of planting could be done at home. Parents would be responsible for the documentation process. Once children get together again they can bring their plants including the documentation (photos etc.) with them and talk about it in the group.
AuthorKatrin Christl, Jennifer Skurka
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