Earth Day and Mothers' Day became a special combined focus last spring for the preschoolers in Wendy Sherman's Sudbury, MA, class. On Earth Day (April 22), students carefully collected small 4-inch oak, white pine, and maple seedlings from the woods and fields around the school. After very gently washing the roots, students were able to examine and compare the different seedlings.
After discussing the importance of trees, reading tree books, and raising questions, each student planted a "treeling" identified with a handmade sign, in a plastic pot. "Tending and observing the treelings until Mothers' Day was a thrill for the kids," said Wendy. "They realized that the treelings, tiny like these youngsters were, with care, will grow larger. We had fun imagining and predicting how they, like the students, would change over time."
The kids took the trees home as a "living gift" for mothers to enjoy for years. After planting, students brought in many pictures of themselves with parents in front of the tree. "It's not just a one-shot mothers' day gift," says Wendy. "These trees will hopefully provide a continuing home science project to care for, observe, and appreciate for years to come."