Posts by Alex Aleshire

Kinders Explore Soil – Aspire Gateway

Kindergarten students need plenty of time for garden exploration.  With simple instructions to touch different areas of garden soil gently, they began to make observations. Look at these kiddos! There must be something super interesting under the picnic benches! The  students discovered the soil is different in the pathways. “It’s really hard” they said. We…

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A Plant’s Function at Aspire Firestone

What better way to learn about the parts of a plant and their function, then to actually handle a living  baby plant!  Aspire students did just that! Later we had a taste of their favorite garden food, kale with a splash of Tajín!

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Worm Discovery at Aspire Gateway

Worms are fascinating creatures. The kids love to explore a functioning worm ecosystem because not only do they find evidence of worms  reproducing, they discover there are other creatures that share and benefit from the same environment. The kids love the book “Wiggling  Worms at Work”. It explains so much about the worms life cycle.…

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Woodlawn Harvest Time

The end of the session is a great opportunity to learn how to harvest, prepare and enjoy great fruits and vegetables straight from the garden. Various kales, radishes and chives were harvest then cut into tiny pieces. We made an orange dressing that everyone loved and the students wrote down the recipe to share with…

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All About Citrus at Sullivan

This beautiful garden is pack full of citrus trees that are producing wonderfully. So why not teach the kids about the world of citrus! First we discussed shape, color and texture. Then the students drew the different types of citrus fruit. Lastly, we tasted the different varieties. Some were sweet and others very sour…those tart…

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Ask a Question Firestone Aspire

The first day of a new rotation are always so fun! This month it’s kindergarten’s turn in the garden and this group is full of questions! They explored the garden pointing and asking great questions along the way. “Are the orange ladybugs poisonous?” “Is that a tomato?” ”Why are the  roly-poly’s eating the strawberry!?” ”What…

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Succession Planting at Ramona

Thinking ahead is important when taking care of a garden if you want to have a continuous harvest. Today we harvested lots of beautiful lettuce then scattered  some lettuce seeds to ensure we would have an ongoing supply The students were amazed that one seed holds all that is necessary to grow into a head…

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It Starts with a Seed -Woodlawn

It really does start with a seed!  All plants want to reproduce and the Woodlawn kindergarteners learned just that by going on a seed hunt! The students found evidence of how the big Jacaranda tree is dropping it’s seeds and trying to reproduce. Later we planted our own seeds. A few weeks later, we were…

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Just Loosening Up Soil at Woodlawn

Rain is great, great, GREAT, but the strong down pours we’ve been having, can really compact the soil in the garden beds. Not a problem for Woodlawn students!  We spent the class time learning how soil gets compacted, and why compacted soil is hard on plants. Later, we loosened up the soil using the proper…

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Sullivan Learns About Flowers

The kids were so excited to get out to the garden after the rain! There were so many flowers blooming that we decided to pick some and really take a close look. After sorting them by color, we drew our favorites making sure we used the true colors of the flowers.   We picked some…

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Monarch Madness-Aspire Firestone

Learning about the importance of our monarch butterfly population was a great lesson during our rainy day indoor classes. The kids had seen monarchs visiting the garden, but didn’t realize they had laid there eggs. I brought in some of the catapillars for a close-up observation. We learned about their migration, their diet and some…

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Digging the Garden at Sullivan

The garden at the Sullivan preschool has been flourishing  especially after this great rain we had. The soil is moist and rich and perfect for digging! It’s not often enough that kids get to dig in beautiful,  dark soil, where they might encounter creatures of the earth like worms, grubs, beetles etc.  Getting a little…

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HaiKu Valentines for Ramona

The rain has kept us indoors for much of February, so why not spend Valentines Day making Haiku poems for our loved ones? After a quick lesson on how to organize this type of traditional Japanese poem the kids got to work.   I brought in a variety of colorful flowers, plants with texture and…

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Noteworthy Seed Disection at Ramona

Teaching about seed development is one of my favorite topics. It’s full of “Wow” moments. Like when I  hand them a dry lima bean, and ask them to peel off the seed coat.  Or when I show them a  jar with 30 dry lima beans, then the equivalent amount that I have soaked overnight in…

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Watching the Web of Life at Aspire Gateway

Today in the garden we went out to look for mini ecosystems. I explained to the students that an ecosystem consist of plants and animals (living organisms) interacting with the environment ( air, water, soil, weather). We talked about how an ecosystem can be influenced by many factors, living and non-living that can change the…

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All About Leaves at Sullivan

The preschoolers at Sullivan have been learning about trees in the classroom. So to help support their learning, we did several hands on activities related to trees out in the garden. We observed various types of leaves growing from trees in our garden. Some are large, some small and some are green while others have…

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Roots Rule at Woodlawn

Learning about roots can be fun especially when kindergarten gets to see first hand a carrot, pulled from their own garden!   We also saw beets, leeks and radishes growing in the garden. All were great examples of various types of roots! The carrots were the most exciting though and yummy too!

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Poems, Powered by Soil at Aspire Firestone

This activity kept Firestone students engaged, moving and thinking! First, I placed 4 different soil samples and some supplies on 4 separate tables ( a paper bag, 6 pencils and about 26-30 small pieces of paper big enough to write one word). I then covered them with a towel. I explained they would be looking,…

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Sorting Roots, Fruits and Veggie at Ramona

I brought the garden to the kids on a raining day at Ramona.  We learned the differences between roots, fruits and vegetables then played a sorting game to test their knowledge. Some of the cards had fruit, roots or vegetables that they had never heard of. The kids had to use the information they learned…

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Kid Powered Salad at Woodlawn

A great way to end a session is to make a fresh salad with ingredients straight from the garden! Everyone worked together to slice, chop and dice, tomatoes and various types of kale, green onions and carrots. We also added pomegranate seeds and dressed the salad with a splash of vinager, sea salt and a…

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Manure Talk at Aspire Firestone

Today the students walked into a smelly garden. It was a familiar smell for some, easily identified by a taboo word “poop”.  Not just any old poo, but what is called manure from specific animals.  Today we learned that using manure in the garden has numerous benefits. Manure is packed with nutrients tha plants need…

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Woodlawn Discovers How Soil is Made

Learning about how soil is made is amazing. It’s been happening since the beginning of our Earth; the recycling of organic matter rich with nutrients, transformed into exactly what a plant needs. This week the kids at Woodlawn participated in “feeding” their compost bin with dead leaves, twigs and shredded paper from the school. They…

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Playing “Smell and Seek” at Ramona

Getting to know herbs couldn’t be more fun when you play a game that gets the kids moving, touching and smelling plants in the garden. Today we did just that! I filled each of my “Touch and Feel” containers with an herb, labled the containers 1 thru 6 and placed one herb in each container;…

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Making A Claim at Aspire Gateway

Making a prediction, a hypothesis or a claim is an important step to solving a question. At Aspire Gateway students had lots of questions about their favorite isopod in the garden; the pill bug. So we set up an experiment to learn what type of immediate environment pill bugs prefer; moist soil, dry soil, leafy…

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Touch and Feel at Sullivan

Getting preschoolers to vocalize and describe what they touch and feel can be challenging at times especially in a group setting where there are varying degrees of development in a classroom. So we played a fun game to get them talking (and learning) about fruits and vegetables that grow in their garden! First we harvested…

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Learning Pest Control at Ramona

Discovering which bugs are friends of the garden and which bugs can be destructive is best done through observation.  The students at Ramona got to do just that, they walked throughout the garden finding evidence of eaten leaves and fruit and the culprit pests behind it. They made a quick “T” chart to indicate friends…

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S is for Seeds at Sullivan

Teaching preschoolers about the garden is so much fun! During this lesson we learned about seeds, where they come from and how they grow. Most of the students knew seeds grow into plants, but they didn’t know where seeds come from. With the help of a giant sunflower, the children quickly remembered, “Seeds come from…

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Aspire Gateway Discovers the Friends and Foes of the Garden

Discovering all the different insects that call Aspire’s garden their home, is one of the most interesting activities.  That’s why during  today’s class, we looked into all the beneficial insects and the insect foes of the garden. Lady beetles and their larva are very active right now and coincidentally, so are the aphids!  We discovered…

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Sullivan Gets to Know their Garden

My first week at Sullivan Preschool was amazing! The children were excited and super curious about the garden and all the creatures and plants. I introduced them to Leo the Lion (my puppet “friend of the garden” assistant) who gets their attention in a flash!  We have been exploring the area while reinforcing the rules…

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Aspire Firestone Asks “What’s Climate all About?”

Knowing what grows best in your climate is crucial to growing a successful garden. Today the kids from Firestone learned what climate is, what climate we are living in, and how we have basically two growing seasons here in Southern California.  We read the information from several different seed packages to determine whether the seeds…

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Harvest Salad at Aspire Firestone

The kids have been so excited for this day. Not because our session was ending, but because they were going to get to harvest, wash, chop and mix a grand salad.  Kids love to help cook, but just don’t get too many opportunities to do so. With our updated work space and sink, making a…

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Ramona Learns “What Is Dirt?”

The little garden at Ramona has been producing some big harvests which, I’ll have to say, have everything to do with the soil! The students learned that Ramona’s soil is not just any old dirt, it’s full of minerals, has been watered and aerated, and most importantly, has lots of organic matter! The kids enjoyed…

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Digging the Dirt at Woodlawn

One of the most important resources on our planet, hands down, is soil. It is sometimes difficult to give soil the importance it deserves because it’s just dirt, right? And it’s everywhere. Well, this week in the garden we discovered why dirt is so important and that not all dirt is created equal. We also…

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The Value in Alliums at Aspire Gateway

I changed up learning the parts of the plant when I brought in various onions to plant. The kids all had some experience with onions, mostly how they make you cry when you slice them and how strong tasting they are. During class we learned that the actual bulb of the onion is made up…

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Humming Bird Visit at Aspire!

  An unfortunate accident for a hummingbird turned into a once in a lifetime event for the Aspire students! I found a hummingbird with an injured wing the evening before and while I was arranging where to take the little guy, I discovered they needed to eat a few times every hour! So, I took…

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Herbalicious Last Day at Woodlawn!

Our last day’s harvest was so bountiful, that we made a delicious, fresh snack to end the year… Ah bruschetta!!  This classic Italian appetizer is a perfect way to capture the flavors of garden ripened tomatoes, fresh herbs like basil, oregano and chives and of course garlic!  Kindergarten and 1st grade were so excited to…

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Aspire Digs Into the World of the Roly-Poly!

Most kids know a lot about roly-poly’s; they’re cute, they roll up when they get scared and they don’t bite.  I wanted the kids to “dig a little deeper” into the world of a roly-poly, but first I gave the kids a little information about these bugs starting with their true name; pill bugs! So…

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Holy Moly! Roly Polys at Woodlawn!

Most of us have held a Roly-poly before…that gentle little garden creature that rolls up into a ball when disturbed or scared. It’s an easy creature to like; they don’t bite, they tickle your hand when they crawl on you and they can protect themselves! Today in the garden, Kinder and 1st grade learned more…

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A Snail’s Trails at Aspire

I brought a little bit of the garden into the classroom on this rainy day. Fortunately, the rain and cloudy weather made it easy to find snails and slugs in the garden. In the classroom, I told the kindergarteners  that I brought with me a garden creature for them to observe.  We talked about the…

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Growing Fruit at Woodlawn

  The Woodlawn garden is in full production mode!  We have been harvesting lots of lettuce, Swiss chard, and collard greens in the past few weeks.  Just recently, the warmer temperatures have given our fruit-bearing plants the boost they needed!  Kindergarten and 1st grade searched the garden for fruit that was ready to harvest. We…

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Chop Chop Salad at Woodlawn

Using a knife is a hard tool to master, especially when your 6 years old!  The kids at Woodlawn got lots of practice today by helping to chop up a yummy salad! To begin we discuss harvesting and what would happen if we harvested a fruit or vegetable that was not ready to pick.  Then…

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Woodlawn Kids Start Seeds

The kindergarten and 1st grade students at Woodlawn have shown great attention to the garden. They have helped with many garden taskes including leaf clean up, pill bug relocation and composting.  So I knew they could handle the care needed to start seeds and keep them moist and warm. During discussion time, we talked about…

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The Bee Dance at Aspire

When kids get a little spooked about bees in the garden, I think it’s important to give them some information on what exactly a bee does. I thought for this lesson I would bring in my bee suit (yep… bee suit!) and show the kids how important it is not to run, yell and wave hands…

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Let’s Talk Strawberries at Aspire!

The long awaited strawberry season has arrived, giving Aspire students a sweet experience! We talked about all the prep work that was involved in producing these wonderful garden treats; early planting, removing early flowers to develop the roots and amending the soil. Removing pill bugs and sow bugs from the strawberry garden bed and putting…

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