The Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) and Aquaponics lab are more than life-science classrooms for children in the Spring Creek Towers’ community— they are beacons of opportunity for students to express their creativity and broaden their understanding of science. “The children are making connections. They see the lifecycle of plants, learn how to harvest, cook vegetables and so much more in the garden,” said Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman.
Last month, Roytman saw her third graders in PS 346 make these connections while learning about organisms living in their garden community through role-playing. Roytman decided to transform her lesson into a garden play—a grand show in which her third grade class will be the performers, while her kindergarten students will serve as the audience.
Roytman asked her third grade class during their first rehearsal, “Who are the characters living in the garden and what are their roles?” The students’ usual Thursday afternoon demeanor turned from sleepy to enthusiastic when they pretended to be earthworms munching on rotting fruit and bees pollinating flowers. The third graders’ imagination and understanding of the garden’s lifecycle will allow the lesson to really resonate with the kindergarten class.
The first rehearsal in laying the groundwork for the upcoming play was held last week when Roytman assigned roles, choreographed dance routines and sang songs with the children. The garden play follows the tale of a little boy named Mito as he observes the creatures living in the SCRF UGC. While music sounded in the background, Roytman read the story to her class, giving cues to each of the actors when she recited a particular scene. Some students held their hands far a part, pretending to be pear trees, while others danced on their tiptoes, imagining that they were birds soaring around a garden patch filled with kale, carrots and lettuce.
In one scene, the protagonist (Mito) noticed a spider catching a cabbage moth in its web. The student acting as Mito performed his lines, thanking the spider because the moth was eating his cabbages, and proceeded to say, “Spider, you helped my garden.” At this point the entire cast and audience would recite the phrase: “I’m so happy you’re in my garden community.” The garden play is set to take place on February 2nd at 12pm within the Aquaponics lab for the kindergartens to watch. Photos by Amanda Moses