Salad Science Comes to Preschool at London Towne ES
Is it ever too soon to enjoy the joy and wonder of gardening? Not at London Towne Elementary, where students in the preschool FECEP (Family and Early Childhood Education Program) and Head Start programs are learning to grow lettuce from seed via the Salad Science program, an Audubon Naturalist Society program.
This six-week program covers plant lifecycles, parts of a plant, nutrition, decomposition, composting, and learning where food comes from. Students are responsible for watering and thinning the seedlings once they sprout and caring for nature’s recyclers—worms—in a classroom compost bin.
Using a journal, the students make predictions about the growth of their plants, record data, and make observations as the seeds sprout and seedlings grow. They learn about how to “eat the rainbow” and are taught to identify edible plant parts and read the book Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals to learn what makes up compost and how it helps fertilize new plants.
London Towne preschoolers visited with the school’s resident omnivore—an Eastern box turtle—and watched him dine on some lettuce and a worm. Using hand lenses, they observed the worms and conducted mini experiments, making predictions regarding light, dark, wet, and dry.
The culmination of the Salad Science program is when students harvest the lettuce and enjoy a salad party with their upper grade book buddies. All students are encouraged to eat the rainbow with a variety of toppings and salad dressings.
This cross-curricular program is tied to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and FCPS curriculum, and offers students the opportunity to celebrate the season of giving and thankfulness by celebrating with each other.