As the pandemic closed the schools and kindergartens here in Romania, as a strictly administrative decision, we thought of re-creating a space were children could meet, play and learn, in the safe frame of a community. So this is how our "School in the garden" project started, september 2020. Below are some outdoor activity ideas for the autumn season that we tried and we had a good feedback from the children engaged.
First we learned about bees and polinators reading "Bee and me" by Alison Jay and playing with a beautiful puzzle made by Stuka Puka that describes the component parts of a bee. We also got to see bees at work in our neighbour's hives.
Another activity was collecting seeds from a huge cucumber and a small pumpkin . We compared seeds, let them dry, we discussed about storing the seeds and after, some eager participants also wanted to plant them right away.
In another sunny autumn day we set up an activity based on the book "A year around the great oak" by Gerda Muller but we also used my favourite "The book of Trees" by Piotr Socha & Wojciech Grajkowski .
During this interdisciplinary activity started with a lecture from the first book mentioned above (stories are a great start to discover children's vectors of interest as they usually ignite a swarm of questions) we also set up a nut hunt under the nut trees in the garden , we ate nuts , we started an ethical discussion with our neighbour that was just cutting down some trees so he could build a fence and we discovered the age of the trees that were freshly cut down using the method of counting the rings in the cross-section of trunk. The most funny part of the activity was the moment when i was speaking of the need for diversity and nature thriving against industrial cutting because of the climate change derived from that (yes, a tree can change a water course as i discovered this year in a forest were a spring got dry after a shepherd cut down the great tree above, that called the spring's water with his majestic roots) while in the background my neighbour started a symphony of chainsaws. Of course i didn't even notice, so wrapped up in my speech, good luck there were some close ones that could manage gathering data through all their senses. So we always learn, no matter how young or old we are, and this is the healthy way it was and should be.