Students first begin attending farm and garden classes in preschool. They are welcomed to the "Strawbale Circle" where they begin to develop a relationship with our Farm & Garden teachers, Xochi Batlle and Lilyanne Kane, who introduce the children to the many ways they can help take care of the garden and animals – such as feeding the chickens, harvesting fruits and vegetables, finding snails, or cultivating the garden beds.
The children kicked off this school year by learning about waste sorting and putting their knowledge to the test! They practiced identifying which bin waste should be sorted in: compost, recycling, or landfill. “The students take a lot of pride knowing they are helping us to keep this beautiful campus clean,” Xochi says.
Third graders study native plants in connection with their core classroom curriculum. The children closely examine the characteristics of native plants and work together to categorize their leaves. They also engage in a series of inquiry activities as they develop an understanding of how native plants have adapted to survive and thrive in California’s unique climate. Soon, the third graders will learn about making apple cider as they harvest our bounty of apples, learn about the cider press equipment, then make and enjoy their own apple cider!
In first grade, the children have started their study of chickens, which parallels their study of raptors in their core classrooms. Students learn about chicken anatomy and adaptations as they compare and contrast chickens and raptors. They practice their observation skills as they examine chicken behavior and practice scientific drawings.
Early in the year, the kindergarteners study the five senses. Using their Owl Eyes, Deer Ears, Coyote Nose, Lizard Tongue, and Raccoon Touch, they explore the natural world. The children will engage in a variety of activities that highlight each sense. They may practice mindfulness as they create a sound map, participate in a blind-folded taste test, or go on a smelly scavenger hunt.
Our youngest learners in our preschool and TK classes have been engaging in choice activities including feeding chickens, watering plants, making art, exploring our worm bin, and searching for bugs.
As any CDS visitor will tell you, it’s an absolute joy seeing children get their hands dirty, while connecting with the natural world in our beautiful farm and garden!