Kindergarten at the Farm

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Mr. Tony explains the proper technique for planting a pine sapling.

A student records observations in his science journal.

By Laura Ciociola

Last Thursday CLC’s kindergarten class visited the Brown’s Long View Farm for a day of planting, science and service.
This is not kindergarten’s first time at the farm; they visited in the fall to harvest pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and sample Ms. Betsey’s homemade pumpkin pie. They were delighted to visit old friends–steer, goats, horses and dogs–as well as meet the Brown’s two new colts. And they were eager to begin their scientific studies of soil and ecosystems.
In a ten-acre swath of pine forest, students were given small sections of land to record their observations. Using magnifying glasses and reference books, students studied and drew the plants and creatures they found. When asked for his most exciting find, one kindergartner said, “a worm.”

Mr. Tony plans for each new kindergarten class to connect with the farm through observation squares within a different 10-acre parcel. This year’s kindergarten class will focus on a section of pine forest, but in future years, restoration may be targeted at a wetland, a neglected field or an overgrazed pasture.

As well as documenting their plots, students also learned how controlled burning can keep the forest healthy. Students planted pine saplings with parent volunteers and many were excited to use the dibble tool all by themselves.

Mr. Tony explains the proper technique for planting a pine sapling.

When asked about his favorite part of the day, one kindergartner said, “when the cow jumped out of the fence.”

Mr. Tony is looking forward to a long-term relationship between CLC and Long View Farm. “This year’s kindergartners are helping us to see the longer view for restoring the farm’s soils and forests by looking at it a square foot at a time.”

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