School-age 2

From Field to Table
October 2019


I’m sure you’ve all heard of farm to table. Here is a story of one group’s journey from field to table:


One day, as we were playing outside in the field, we noticed a lot of the leaves on the trees had hard bumps on them. We decided to look at more of the leaves, and Shannon noticed an empty cocoon hanging from the tree. She brought it down for the children to look at. The children were really excited and asked if they could take it inside to do an experiment.


Once inside, the experiment consisted of soaking the leaves and cocoon in a cup of water, to see what would happen. A few children wanted to see which types of leaves might sink or float. We also used the iPad to figure out that the hard bumps form on the leaf in places where insects have laid eggs, or bitten the leaf. They are called leaf galls. We left the leaves and cocoon damp in a Ziploc bag overnight after taking it out of the water.


The next day, there was nothing new to report, but this time we put the leaves into a larger bin full of water to observe any happenings. When the group saw it, they seemed to lose interest in the scientific aspect of the leaves in water. They were now looking at soup. A big “pot” of soup. They quickly gathered the dishes from the toy shelf and began to scoop it into bowls and serve it up. As this sociodramatic play continued, we added more and more natural materials. After a minor flooding of the floor and table, we decided to fill the “soup pot” with dry natural materials. We collected a large, actual pot full of acorns, leaves and pine cones. The interest in this activity grew, with one child saying, “Can we do this again tomorrow? This activity is so cool!” The next step for us was to set up a table like a table at home. We set up a table cloth, and beside the main table, a smaller table which held the pots and scoops. The children took turns playing the roles of diner and server. The server would fill their bowl and cup with the natural materials after the diner ordered. A couple of children even wanted to make menus at the art table. This activity has continued for a number of days, and continues even now.


 Children serving themselves out of a sensory bin


Throughout this activity, there has been so much opportunity for learning. In the early stages, they were making scientific discoveries about the leaves; what the bumps were, and how they would react to water. When the play took a turn into dramatic play, the children practiced the skills of day to day life, turn taking, conversation skills, and manners. They took from their every day life to decide what was needed to improve on their own play, introducing the dishes, asking for scoops and other materials needed. It wasn’t expected, but it was delightful to see the transition from science to dramatic play, proving how much children really can learn from play.


Children exploring a nature bin

One child serves nature items to another





























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portrait of jo

Joanne Neeb, RECE 

portrait of Jen

Jen Schiedel, RECE
Assistant Supervisor