Thursday, October 22, 2015

US Botanical Garden - An Educational Gem

Rarely does a class for my child have a therapeutic effect on me.  Yet the US Botanical Garden's Seedlings class certainly does.  It's something about being surrounded by greenery that calms my soul.  What's more amazing is Ms. Lee Coykendall. Botany may seem like a difficult subject to make accessible for children, yet she does it effortlessly, brilliantly, creatively!  We have been coming to the US Botanical Gardens' programming for 11 years.  KingMan participated in the Sprouts program until he aged out.  I was so sad about it. Yet he happily tagged along as the older sibling when LionHeart began the Seedlings program.  Ms. Lee happily allowed him to participate, even though the class was aimed at 6-9 year old.  One day he even asked how old he needed to be to be able to work at the Botanical Gardens.

LionHeart on the far left and KingMan getting a big hug from Ms. Lee
What I love most about the class is that topics are introduced while the children are actively engaged in an activity.

LionHeart and his Bestie are testing water temperatures.

In this particular class, they became water scientists and measured various water temperatures.

LionHeart recording water temperature data in the US Botanical Gardens.
The introduction of the lesson is always followed by a trek into the Botanical Gardens.  The learning opportunities are endless.

This was not related to the topic at hand, but the beauty obviously caught LionHeart's eye because he paused to snap this shot.

The Rainforest
This is where the fun began.  The lesson was engaging already, but the buckets that the children used to collect water samples launched the fun-factor into overdrive.

Over the side of the bridge the buckets were tossed, held by a string.

LionHeart would have been happy to collect water samples for hours.

LionHeart collected three samples while determining four things that affected water temperature.

And the testing began.

Getting a little help from Ms. Lee on how to read the thermometer.

One of the best parts of the class is that there is always something related to the lesson to take home.  So many conversations are sparked throughout the week as we reflect on what we've learned.

Lionheart and his Bestie taste some of the herbs they will plant at home.

Class usually ends with a trip to the Children's Garden where they happily dig, sweep and water flowers.  Over the years LionHeart has grown to love Botany and especially the US Botanical Gardens - an educational gem!  What I am most excited about is the class that will begin soon for ages to 14-16.  KingMan will be there for sure!

 This blog post is dedicated to my late husband, who would always take time out of his work day to attend class with us at the Botanical Gardens.  He loved flowers.  He would be pleased to know his sons are still taking classes.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful information. Cannot wait to take my kids. Thanks!