Tuesday morning is my favorite time to work at Community Roots Garden. I teach garden-based preschool lessons to a class of 18 kiddies between the ages of 3 and 6 who go to preschool at the church were the garden is located.
I'm learning that preschoolers are in a world of their own. They take what adults say quite literally and imagine the possibilities of what they are told to the fullest extent. So, when I told these 18 wiggling youngsters recently that we were going to make a home for worms, you can guess the picture they had in their heads.
I thought that making a worm compost bin would be a great way for kids to see the process of their kitchen scraps being broken down into plant food by some nice Red Wrigglers. Before putting in the worms, I brought wet paper for them to tear up as a layer of carbon-based bedding for the worms.
They sat in a circle listening intently as I made some basic comparisons between our worm home and our own homes. I explained that the worms need windows (air holes), food (compost scraps), and beds to lay on, just like we do (except that the worms eat their beds). They set to work creating the worm bedding by ripping apart the paper.
Soon, hands started popping up. “Teacher! Teacher!”
“Look – I made the worms a sofa!”
One held up a soggy lump of paper, “I'm making blankets for mine in case it gets cold.”
Another kid chimed in, “A pillow, come see my worm pillow!”
I had to chuckle, imagining our worms in their elaborately detailed, wet-paper-furnished new home. Oh, the wonderful imaginations of preschoolers. I love it.
Here is a picture of the kids decorating worm food bags with pictures of things that worms like to eat. They took the bags home last week to collect food scraps.
And here's a picture of us going on a hunt through the garden, identifying potential worm food. And tasting strawberries along the way...