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  • NSMS Team

Students Plant Seeds as Part of Schoolyard Habitat Program

Watch what happens to our winter-sown seeds!

In the depths of winter when the ground is frozen solid and the arc of the sun is low, it can feel like spring will never come. But it will! Nature knows what to do, and seeds know when to grow.

Among the central tenants of a Montessori education are to foster a connection with the natural world and a sense of environmental stewardship. Hands-on learning, honing observation skills and working together are also integrated in everything we do.

To that end, the students from Children’s House, Lower and Upper Elementary recently embarked on a winter seed sowing project led by Jennifer Wieckowski, mom to Matthew and Lizzie.

Jennifer, pictured above with students from the Lower Elementary class, is an experienced gardener. She is helping to facilitate North Shore Montessori School (NSMS)’s partnership with The Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI)—a local nonprofit whose mission is to educate and prepare the coming generations to steward wisely the environmental health of the Gulf of Maine bioregion.

GOMI is sponsoring NSMS in creating a model habitat sanctuary in our schoolyard. This will include planting native plant species that will provide a welcoming space for birds, beneficial insects and other critters—as well as clearing invasive species.

The children participated in winter sowing seeds that will germinate at just the right time in the spring. Winter sown seeds are much hardier than those sowed indoors. These seeds are more likely to grow to maturity and naturally receive cold stratification (which helps some seeds break through their seed coats) to germinate successfully.

“The seeds that we sowed are native perennials and annuals to help attract and sustain pollinators and native wildlife” Jennifer explained. “We hope to impart a love of stewarding the landscape that the children play in everyday, and that this love of nature will continue throughout their lives,” said Jennifer.

The children also sowed some early-season vegetables so that they may enjoy the “fruits” of their labor before school ends in June. All of the age groups from Children's House through Upper Elementary participated in the project and sowed over 20 different varieties of interesting plants in repurposed HDPE plastic jugs.

The prepared jugs will stay outside in their raised garden beds in the school yard—through rain and snow—until they start to grow when nature gives them the green light.

“It is a wonderful way to experience that nature really does know best!” said Jennifer, pictured below with students from the Upper Elementary class..

We encourage you to take a peek at these mini “cold-frames” when you visit school, especially as the weather warms and the days grow longer.

We know that the children will be excited to see what germinates, and they’ll feel proud that they are helping to care for the land and provide food and habitat for wildlife, and maybe even themselves!

To learn more about winter sowing, check out the graphic below, or watch this video on YouTube.

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