The Natalie G. Heineman Smart Love Preschool is surrounded by an expansive yard and organic gardens planted and tended by the preschoolers. The Children’s Garden offers abundant opportunities for play-based experiences to enrich learning in math, natural and social sciences, reading, language, personal expression, physical development, nutrition and growth. The gardening program and accompanying curriculum meets the Preschool’s goal of offering preschoolers a nature curriculum, which is unique among preschools in Chicago.
Margo Mejia, whom the preschoolers call “Farmer Margo” manages the garden, teaches the preschoolers and collaborates on our curriculum with the classroom teachers. Hands-on learning in the garden and the season-extending greenhouse as well as in the classroom (seeds starts, worm bed, and garden activities) takes place all year long. As children work together to create, maintain and enjoy their school garden, they are exposed to concepts such as symbiotic relationships of plants and animals, solar energy, plant lifecycles, photosynthesis, cooperation, environmental stewardship and ecological awareness.
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