“Sun Warms Good Cheer Garden for Grade 3”
By Lauryn Taylor, Third Grade Parent at the Whidbey Island Waldorf School
On Wednesday September 12th, Mr. Maliakal’s third grade glass enjoyed a beautiful Indian Summer day working at the Good Cheer Garden. The day began with a fun carrot harvest and continued on to beets and beans. The vegetables were sorted, washed and dried in the warm sunshine before moving on to many helping third grade hands for weighing, bagging and labeling.
This project illustrated several of the benefits of a day spent in an outdoor classroom: learning to work together toward a common goal of helping provide food for a hunger free community, math skills to bag and weigh each package, and reading/writing to identify and label each bag of vegetables.
Good Cheer’s Garden Coordinator Cary Peterson also incorporated science into the day with a lesson about Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria. Cary instructed the children to gently pull mature bean plants and examine the roots. She explained that beans do this amazing nitrogen fixing job with the help of a common soil bacterium which works with the plant to form nitrogen storage balls on the roots of the plant. She summed it up by explaining that this little balls are “essential to all life on this planet”. The children found many of these little treasures and then placed them back in the soil to help future crops.
At noon, Good Cheer volunteers assembled a bountiful lunch for the children and adult volunteers. Delicious salads, soups, breads, and a special noodle chow mein were set out on the picnic tables in the garden. It was truly a feast and a wonderful way for the children and volunteers to taste the delicious food they helped to harvest and share with our community.