‘Sharing the Planet’, our new Unit of Inquiry, focuses on the concepts of change and responsibility. In the unit, we are trying to gain a deeper understanding of how things grow and change with specific focus on plants and our roles and responsibilities towards their survival. Creating an authentic and engaging learning opportunity is key to capturing any learner’s attention and the Garware Farm without a doubt was a superb place for ‘tuning in’.
Speaking of roles and responsibilities, planning the trip in itself was a learning experience for the children and adults alike. The children were happy to help prepare a list of tools and personal items that we had to carry with us to the farm. The excitement of having a picnic lunch on the farm was doubled for some, as this would be their first bus ride to a farm with friends. A few remembered their previous visits to the farm with their family and were excited by the prospect of being able to play at the play area in the garden. Some could hardly wait and often counted the number of sleeps until the day of the trip.
The day arrived and we packed ourselves on to school bus number 4, accompanied by our parent volunteers. On the way, the children sang ‘jingle bells’ and other Christmas songs. My guess is the excitement and joy created by the trip was quite relatable in their minds to the joy of our Christmas concert in school. After a forty minute ride through not-so-busy roads, looking at mountains, counting cars and trees in bloom, we reached our destination, the farm !
On arrival we were greeted by Mr Sardesai, the farm manager, who would be our guide for the morning. He led us to the garden which was laden with rugs for the children to sit on and enjoy their snack.
After finishing snack, Mr Sardesai took us on a tour of the farm, which began with picking coconuts. The children were in awe as they watc
hed Mr. Sakre climb a coconut tree. Some were concerned for his safety while others wished they could climb the tree themselves. Many were happy to take a sip or two of the coconut water fresh from the tree.
As we continued, we looked at familiar vegetables and fruits such as lemons, guavas, chikoos, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and tomatoes to name a few. We were intrigued by the ones that grew underground and others in little pods. Mr Sardesai was patient and knowledgeable and engaged with the children, inviting them to taste, smell and feel different parts of the plants.
By the time we finished the tour of the entire vegetable garden, the children were a bit tired and ready for lunch. They enjoyed their packed lunch from home along with a generous spread that was prepared for them by our hosts. The trip was made enjoyable by Mr Sardesai, the farm manager and other members of staff, they enriched our learning experience with their knowledge and sharing.
The recount of the trip that we did the next day revealed how each one of our learners have brought something back from the experience, something that is meaningful and relevant to them in many different ways.
“Coconuts are not always the same. They start from a tiny coconut and then they turn into big ones.”
“People also grow like trees slowly.”
“Some plants are big some plants are small”
“Carrots grow underground from small to big. Like a baby that grows to 1,2,3 and gets bigger.”
We cannot thank Ms Mayuri enough for her generosity in allowing us to go to the farm and providing us with a lovely meal.