Curious first-graders made their own discoveries about plants in Colorado as they enthusiastically wandered paths and explored the unique Gardens on Spring Creek on a recent sunny, fall day.
“It’s good for them to be out here. They see so much more here than what we can bring into the classroom,” said Mona Glover, first-grade teacher at Werner Elementary.
For the past month, Werner Elementary first-graders have been studying and learning about plants. The field trip to the Gardens on Spring Creek, a city-funded community horticulture program, gave the young students an opportunity to see first-hand what they’ve been learning in the classroom.
“We’ve been learning about the parts of plants, what plants produce, how seeds travel, and what plants need to grow. We’ve learned all about the life cycle of plants,” said Glover. “We’ve also grown some plants of our own. The Gardens on Spring Creek give the kids more exposure to different plants.”
Courtney Reid, youth program instructor at the Gardens on Spring Creek, led the first-graders as they explored the Garden of Eatin’ (a vegetable garden) and Rock Garden (a naturalistic garden featuring low-growing plants). She also showed them secret hiding places in the Children’s Garden and and taught them how to tell time by standing on a sun dial and seeing where their shadow falls.
Reid says she hopes the students learn that gardening is fun and beneficial to everyone. “We want them to understand where food comes from,” she said. “Apples aren’t just an after-school snack. It takes a lot of work from a lot of different people to grow an apple tree.”
Both first-graders Ireland Nickel and Cooper Hand said they have learned a lot about plants and enjoyed being outside.
“I learned that plants need water and soil and they need sun so they can grow,” said Ireland, whose favorite part of the field trip was petting the fish in the pond. “It was fun. They were kind of slimy when we were petting them.”
Cooper said he learned that plants need space between them so they can “catch the sun and grow.” He enjoyed making the “living” necklace, which contains a scarlet runner bean that will eventually sprout and can be replanted.
“I liked making the necklace because that was something you can make here and I like art,” he said.