One of my favorite areas of our property is our Charleston-style side garden with its lush greenery, native trees, colorful flowers and flowing fountain. It’s a wonderful place to relax with a book, visit with a friend or simply ‘be’. It’s also an area that needs frequent care: watering, misting, trimming, weeding, sweeping, etc. This makes it the perfect place to work on practical life skills and care of the environment.

It was a beautiful morning, so we started the day outside before it became too warm. It didn’t take long to notice the plants outside were in need of water. I held the watering can, exaggerating my movements, while he misted. We chatted as we watered and worked. As we moved toward our Crepe Myrtle, I felt it was a good time to share a little information about the purpose of the tree. I explained how it is a contributor to life as both a plant and a home for animals. We then imagined how it might feel to be planted in soil and function as a tree (See previous blog post: A Mister In Hand). As soon as we finished, he asked to go inside the house. I knew he had something in mind and so I ‘followed the child’.

Once in the house, he wanted to work with the ‘Parts of the Tree’ puzzle. I could almost see the brain-wiring connections he was making from the tree conversation and time outside. The puzzle was serving as a learning extension for him. As he worked with the puzzle, he seemed to have a greater comfort level with its different parts: the roots, trunk, branches , stems and leaves – and how each functions. I believe he was ‘feeling’ it and the lesson had ‘taken root’.

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