Laterna Magica, Amsterdam – gardening with children
Laterna Magica, Amsterdam – herb and vegetable garden with children | The Netherlands | 2016 – 2020
With our son we were lucky to find a primary school where a relatively big vegetable and flower garden is attached to children’s playground. I have been working here as a volunteer parent once a week gardening with the children. Children from age 2 till 12 could join and according to their age could do different things: we were seeding, experimenting, from what seeds what can grow, we were planting, watering, cleaning, harvesting together.
Gardening is an excellent ‘method’ to learn in a playful way. We are working with soil, mud, we are digging and playing with water, everybody is dirty (lekker vies) and have fun.
But in the meanwhile we learn a lot about nature, the needs of the plants, we are discovering little animals; ants, worms, snails, insects. We also learn how to take care of things from day to day. We see how fruits, vegetables grow from the beautiful flowers and how tiny, weak plants die if we don’t give them water. We have plenty of courgette, rhubarb, potatoes, tomato ending up in the kitchen of the school right from the garden where other children make delightful dishes out of them. We learn how to work together, how to share, how to co-operate.
We are digging out the ripe potatoes and in the meanwhile learn that only that part is edible which lies in the ground, but also we are learning to count them, after all we have more than 1o8 piece of potatoes from one bed. Furthermore, we can talk a little about Vincent van Gogh, who has painted ‘The potato eaters’ (De Aardappeleters), since painters and fine art is the topic of the week, anyways.
I feel very proud that I had the opportunity to work together with the team of Laterna Magica and participate in the creation from the very beginning of a beautiful and crazy school garden together with Towards Nature Permaculture.