Embracing Farm to Preschool
Monkey Business Early Education Center in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, wanted to start an outdoor learning environment and participate in Farm to Preschool. The four-year-old classrooms started by discussing gardens, farms and food. Then they learned about the parts of a flower, sorting seeds, creating classroom books and categorizing the food plate.
Next, the children planted different seeds in their classrooms. The class used small plastic cups, soil and water to plant vegetable and flower seeds, like tomatoes, sunflowers and beans. Families of Monkey Business were invited to participate in a Family Garden Day where they were able to help transplant the vegetables from the classroom to the outdoor environment. Flowers and bushes were purchased and planted along with a peace pole. The peace pole will be utilized as a quiet area where children can take a moment individually or resolve conflicts with their peers.
Then the children took a field trip to Klinger’s Farm Market and Irvine Park to celebrate their learning. Klinger’s Farm Market is a family-run business that has been open for 100 years, where they grow fresh produce and provide a wide selection of annual and perennial plants.
Throughout the summer, children at Monkey Business enjoyed the garden and the food it provided. Each day the classrooms watered, harvested and tended to the vegetables. The cook also used the vegetables to create meals and add to recipes for the children to try. The children learned the importance of where food comes from and helped prepare their meals. The project has continued to be educational, hands-on and a valuable learning tool for students to learn the importance of healthy food choices and a healthy lifestyle.