Our gardening group – Guerilla Garders – had been together for about a week last December, when we teachers planned to bring in a wacky lesson. We chose to role play. What was wacky? Children had not seen us doing that, and so we thought we could use that tool.
As a part of the learning camps that are organised by Project Vision, we were working with about 11 children in a gardening process. The process was physically challenging, where children both boys and girls had to set up plant beds, by mixing sand, and planting little seeds and sapplings. The process was also mentally challenging as children set about building for the group an outdoor classroom, and a pergola which they could use to spring creepers on.
We built a Pergola, and set up three beds and were basking in the happiness of seeing tomato, spinach and marigold shoots. We also had just then planted creepers such as beans, pepper, grapes and passion fruit. Wow. We had laughed all through the week. And we had kept track of our thoughts and the growth of each plant – we had documented every process that we took up during gardening. One of the things that we had planned to do was also to get the children to use art to express themselves using art. And so to introduce the session, we planned a wacky session. A session to be introduced with role - playing of children in the group (by me) and of a seed they had planted by another teacher.
We walked into the class, and I began by saying… “I want to plant a little seed” and went on to put a chair, and pull another teacher (who was acting as the seed) and planted her on the chair. As the planter, I behaved impatiently with my seed, asking it to grow the very next day, I said “grow grow grow”. What ensued was a roleplay of how the seed reacted by saying no no.. and going back into the ground, and me wanting it to grow. After more baby talking and coaxing the seed to grow, it plant began to respond.
Histrionics of this kind not only tickled the kids nerves bring forth a lot of laughter, it kind of made for a great hook – towards a process of play creation by children around their learning from the gardening process.