Here at Baldivis we have embedded a play base learning approach where we teach the children about the environment directly in contact with themselves. One of the ways we foster this is by having hands on experiences, such as our worm farm.
When you visit our centre you will find our wriggly friends in the Toddler Two room. These friendly little creatures spend their days eating the lovely kitchen scraps. The children have access to visit them throughout the day where they learn valuable lessons. Lifecycles is one lesson taught through collecting and safe guarding the worm’s eggs and examining the worms at different growth stages. The children are also learning how to have empathy for living creatures by learning how to correctly handle individual worms, what and how much they eat and other requirements necessary for the worms to live happily.
As the worms chomp away on the scraps, they produce worm water which we collect and take to our vegetable garden; the children use this to fertilise the growing plants and seedlings and learn about how all living things are interconnected. The worms appreciate the good care that the children provide and when they have eaten their fill of food scraps and turned it into castings, the educators and children carefully transfer the worms and their eggs into a newly prepared home and harvest the castings. We then take this lovely rich compost and mix it with soil ready to plant seeds into it.
This experience then meshes into a further place based learning experience of watching how the little seeds are nourished by our worms off casts. Over the recent months we planted sun flower seeds in the castings and watched as they sprouted and grew. When the plants flowered we watched the bees come to collect the pollen and our children learnt about the importance of insects in our local environment.
We then explored the seed heads, harvested the seeds and fed some to the resident pigeons before replanting to watch them grow again. To involve the parents and families of our children we offer both the worm water and worm castings along with sprouted seedlings for them to take home for their own gardens.