Becoming Garden in ECE
Our child care centre on Coast and Straits Salish territory recently acquired a community garden plot a short walk away from our centre. We (children, educators, and researchers at the University of Victoria) encountered it – lush with dandelions, lambs ear, brassica and various grasses – for the first time and the children tried to disappear in the overgrowth of ‘weeds.’ How do we come to know this plot?
We opened the space up to families and, in the process, opened ourselves up to not knowing exactly what or how things were planted, in an attempt to moving it beyond a ‘controlled plot’ organized by educators. Troubled by good plant/bad plant binaries, we wonder: How do we encounter this ‘piece’ of land? Where does the garden start and where does it stop in WSÁNEĆ territory? Layers live here too. In the process of coming to know the garden, we have been thinking with Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013) and others about what we do not know. How do we come to know our garden?
To illustrate a snippet of our thinking from the inquiry, we share this moment:
Child: These beans are going to grow so high they will reach the clouds!
Educator (Kelsey Wapenaar): We hear observations like this from the children – rich with imagination. But how do we respond? Do we entertain this as an idea of possibility?