I have another book for you! If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a shot of it in the last couple of weeks as I’ve been going through it in preparation for the summer, but I wanted to share (yet another) review here.
The Garden Classroom by Cathy James is one of those all-purpose resources that could find a comfortable home on a parent’s bookshelf, in the bag of a nanny or childcare provider, or on the desk of an elementary school teacher. The information and projects are that wide ranging and that accessible.
The activitiesin the book, which are well thought out and easy to follow, are broken down into several sections: “Play and Imagination”, “Reading and Writing”, “Science and Math”, “Arts and Crafts”, and “Garden Recipes”. Each section provided activities that I could easily see my children (3 and 8) enjoying and participating in easily, many without much guidance from me (which is always my goal – independent learners all the way!).
In addition to the activities, there is a lot of basic information about how to start a garden (both fruit/veggies and flowers) and the myriad of ways a garden can look and function (really, there is no wrong way). As someone who is not a terribly confident gardner, this book made gardening seem accessible and something that not only I could do, but my children could do as well and not be met with frustration.
Of course, appearance isn’t everything, and one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the photographs in this book were lovely and gave me a good idea of how a project ought to go or how it might look. I appreciate Cathy James’ using actual work done by children rather than prettied adult versions. It’s encouraging to see for myself and for my daughter, who has perfectionist tendancies and feels better when examples are more at her level.
All in all, this is a great text to have on hand as you play outside with your children. My thought is that you don’t need to have a set activitiy for each day (though, if you’re teaching, rather than parenting, you may, and this could certainly help you shape that curriculum), but if you want a few activities a week to fill in those spots when your children are most itching to do something, this is a perfect resource.