- Jess Ferris
Healey Head Start Finds Adventure in the Garden
The Somerville Community Growing Center was a magical place for the students and teachers of the Healey Head Start Pre-K this year. Our class remained remote for the entire year and to incorporate options for in-person gatherings, we connected with the Growing Center and hosted three AMAZING events in the space.
Paula led my co-teachers and I on a volunteer training throughout the garden and then handed us the potential for anything we could dream of to take place at this fantastic location.
Our children were mesmerized by the plants, flowers, insects, and birds, right here in Somerville. They were inspired by the challenge of the climbing tree and loved the opportunity to dig in open beds of soil, looking for worms and other creatures. Children did the heavy lifting and strategizing of moving logs, wood planks and bricks to make structures from their imagination. There was joy present in every moment as children explored the garden and it felt like a place that simultaneously belonged to them personally and to all the people of Somerville at the same time.
Children made watercolor paintings in the center of the garden, danced to music and made chalk drawings under the pergola, and read from the selection of nature books that live at the Growing Center all around the garden.
On our final visit to “our” garden, we were visited by our partners from Cozy Arts, an organization dedicated to creating original puppet productions and resources that invite children, and their adults, to develop the qualities, attitudes, and skills needed to cultivate trusting relationships, welcoming communities, and a healthy planet. Ms. Flutterby and her friends Max and Trudy added to our end-of-the-year celebration by hosting a puppet show, musical performance, story time, AND craft corner activity.
A collaborative musical mobile created by the children and families in our class, constructed with bits, bobs, and beautiful stuff, now hangs in the Growing Center. We also released butterflies at the garden, telling them to spread their wings and fly, much like how we sent our Pre-K students off to Kindergarten! All of this is to say that the space at the Somerville Community Growing Center alone is filled with wonderful possibilities, but there is infinite potential for the magic that can happen there.
Our children were so thrilled to take home bucket gardens and nature kits from the garden. We are so grateful for the opportunities to connect with our students, families, and nature that we were given at the Somerville Community Growing Center this year!
Healey Head Start Pre-K Teacher