Thursday, November 22, 2018

Children's Tree Nursery

Last year we started a "children's tree nursery", and at the very beginning of the school year had all the children collect tree seeds from trees around their neighborhood or wherever they could find them. We amassed a nice collection, looked at all the differences in each seed, talked about ways of propagating, and where these seeds had come from. Each child picked one and planted it a few weeks later. Our idea was that we would take care of these trees, repot them every year, and children would take their tree home as a graduation gift at the end of their three years with us.

It was a great idea in theory. However, the plants grew so quickly that by the end of just six months, most of the plants were begging to be repotted in larger containers and stood taller than many of the children. On Graduation Day we lined up the third year children's trees along the entrance of the school and they took their tree home (hopefully to be planted in their yard).

Clearly though, keeping the second and first year children's trees for one or two more years would have meant dealing with pretty enormous plants and I was afraid they would get pot sickness (if that is a thing, where plants don't grow anymore because they've been confined to a too tight container for too long).

I decided all those remaining plants would be donated to the school and have been planting them in our own garden while I thought of a better plan for this year.

Our Family Holiday Picnic is next week, and it's the first event that parents and children attend together at our school. On that day, families will plant a tree seed together with their children and decorate the plant pot together. We will take care of these trees in our tree nursery for the remainder of the year. On the Moving on Ceremony Day, the last family event of the year (and last day of school) we will line up ALL the trees and have the families take them home. Six month old trees will be perfect for planting at home and a lovely gift for everyone to take with them on that day. I think that involving the parents in the planting of the seeds will also give them an incentive to plant and care for the tree in its future home.

I like the closing of this circle and like thinking of 25 trees being planted every year around the island.

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