We have two very special and different gardens here in our Outdoor Classroom: our Butterfly Garden and Salsa Garden! These offer unique learning opportunities for all of our Preschool and Kindergarten students as they are incorporated into their everyday learning. Our students love coming to visit our gardens to see what new discoveries they will find! (Maybe a flower has bloomed in an unexpected place or they spot a caterpillar on a leaf.) Whatever they may find, it is always a great way to introduce concepts like life cycles, pollination, what plants need to grow, etc.
Our Butterfly Garden was designed with help of Lukas Nursery and creates an interactive space for our students to walk through and experience the various types of flowers that grow here in Florida. They also get a chance to witness the butterfly life cycle as well as how bees pollinate as they fly from flower to flower. All of our preschool classes get a chance to water our garden and learn about what flowers need to grow. Our young learners love this space as there are always new flowers blooming or insect critters visiting our Butterfly Garden.
Our Salsa Garden was started by Señora Rojas who is our Pre-K through 5th grade Spanish teacher. She is specifically studying food and agriculture in Spanish speaking countries with her Pre-K 4’s & 5’s classes as well as her Kindergarten classes. At the end of the year, they will be able to harvest and make their very own salsa! During the week, Señora Rojas brings her classes out to the garden to see the progress of the various plants that are growing (tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, lemons, limes and avocados) while learning all the names of the plants in Spanish. It is exciting for the students to watch the garden grow and produce fruit each time they come visit. It is also a great way to introduce how to take care of plants and what specific needs each of the plants have. The Salsa Garden has been such a success and I know her classes are looking forward to making (and eating) some fresh salsa!
We hope to continue to expand our love for gardening and create more garden spaces that provide a rich sensory experience for students of all ages while helping the environment in the process! Gardening has quite a few benefits for children, like improving their fine and gross motor skills, encouraging healthy eating, teaching responsibility, sparking curiosity and much more! We very much enjoy our gardens here at St. Luke’s Preschool!