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Summer placement: Learning and Growing

My Summer Placement Experience: Learning and Growing

Wanjun Huang, Early Childhood Studies placement student

Hi everyone, my name is Wanjun. This is my last week of placement with Green Thumbs for the Early Childhood Studies Program and it was an amazing experience! My past placement experience was usually in a daycare or at an early learning centre, so my experience working with Green Thumbs Growing Kids has been very unique and exciting. I feel lucky to be part of the team, even though my placement was primarily virtual.

However, I am still glad that I chose Green Thumbs as my fourth placement because I learned so much from Ohemaa, my placement supervisor. I was able to learn how to design activities that are developmentally appropriate for various age groups of children, how to redesign in-person school programs into interactive virtual programs and align my teachings with the Ontario curriculum. I learned to make the online lessons to be more engaging and accessible to children using different tools, programs and platforms.

In one of my lesson plans I designed, “Learn about Insects”, allows students to learn some fun facts about insects and the different characteristics of these insects and bugs. Students will learn to identify some beneficial and harmful insects to a school garden. Ohemaa taught me about some bugs and insects that have mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships with plants as well as learned how to safely attract them to our garden. In my lesson, students will learn how to safely keep harmful insects away. They also discovered the relationship between themselves and other living things.

Another lesson plan I created that I am excited for is “Finding Shapes in Nature” which allows children to learn about two- dimensional shapes (2D) and three -dimensional shapes (3D). The goal of this lesson is to explore nature and the garden and discover different shapes around us. In this program, students will get a chance to create objects, plants and animals found in the garden using these shapes.

My favourite part of my placement experience was learning about different types of native trees and plants. More importantly, I learned to show care for plants, gardens and squiggly worms! I learned to appreciate what they do for us and the environment.

Outdoor activity is always an essential topic many educators ignore. However, I have the opportunity to explore nature with Green Thumbs. Therefore, I would integrate what I learned from this experience into my practice in the future. I see the importance of engaging children to engage in more hands-on outdoor activities and for them to learn where their food comes from. Thank you for all the support Green Thumbs. It was a great summer experience!

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