We harvested the squash, pulled the dying plants from our three sisters garden, chopped the green matter into the compost pile , hand tilled the soil and planted covercrop. . Everyone made wishes as we cast handfuls of seed that would give nutrients back to the soil. The story for the week was another story about Millicent and her Aunt Lucie, (From Beauty and the Bean, Week Two) in which they too, take a turn in the cycle of giving with their three sisters garden. As they sing into autumn, and prepare the soil for covercrop Millicent reflects on the barren landscape that was teaming with life and food all summer. She also notices how slowly her Aunt Lucie is moving and when she sees her standing alongside a bent and dying sunflower stalk, dropping its seeds to the ground, she understands that like the plants and animals of late Autumn her Aunt Lucie will one day slip into the deep and silent sleep of her own Winter. She is filled with sadness imagining a world without her Aunt Lucie. But then, in a spirited voice, Aunt Lucie instructs her to “keep hoein’ girl” in order to get the coverseed in. Millicent plunges her sadness into the soil and together they sing a song of thanksgiving as they work. Millicent begins to understand the cycle of giving and receiving in a deeper way and she is grateful for her connection to it.
As I told the story a few kids teared-up when Millicent began to cry. And then, Aunt Lucie’s voice of encouragement to carry on the work made us all smile. All the children made beautiful drawings, and challenged themselves with the written review of the story. It was fun for the children to reference Aunt Lucie’s instructions throughout our week as we put the three sisters garden to bed. Why do we cut the squash stems instead of breaking them? How much stem do we leave? Why are we so careful with the squash as we harvest it? All the children agreed that this was their favorite story so far.
Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the arrival of our chicks and ducklings. Besides the good soul food of being able to witness and hold anything living that is less then a week old, there are lots of cooperative learning opportunities as we relate to and care for these young precious lives.
We will be wrapping up our Plant cycles unit with a story and activities involving bulbs this coming week.