I love being with all the kids out in the garden; so free, digging in the dirt, searching for that elusive worm.  They are all so present.

There are no Common Core standards, no learning for the test… it is more of just learning to be what we are naturally. Inquisitive doers.   That is what I see when I watch these children busy  their whole bodies and minds.

Ah yes…. THE RAKE…. what would a blog be without my story?  I guess it’s more of a metaphor than an actual story….



Tool or Weapon?


At Avalon we have a lovely garden named “Acadia.”  Developed by the older kids in the S.T.A.T.E.  program,  it is fenced in and made up of various shaped garden boxes, surrounded by green grass  and a tool shed   My Seedlings groups are lucky enough to use one of their boxes

Each time we go to the shed,  the kids stand there as if they are looking into a candy store.   “I want the shovel, I want the rake!” they yell.  They just can’t wait to get their hands the metal tools.   Each time I walk into the shed I see row of hand rakes and shovels and I have this flash of paranoia. I can’t help but think….. ” can these 3 -5 year olds handle these tools.  I someone going  accidentally hit another kid in the head as they feverishly rake or dig in the soil????  Then I stop myself and say, “Really? Really Sue?? How will these kids ever learn that you believe  they can indeed handle the rake if I don’t give them an opportunity to give it a go? Just let that fear go ”  And so it goes each time I step into the shed.   But you know what ? Every time they are given the tools they DO it !  They pull it off …. no one bonks anyone with the tools, just occasional dirt in the eye from exuberant shoveling.

I step back, try to observe and give as little direction as possible.  Letting them be little independent souls.  Oh what a wonderful experience for me, the kids and the parents.

I watch the parents as we  surround the kids. While they workI can see some parents who possess the same fears I spoke of and are right there with their child and then there are others who just stand back.   No judgement here from me.    We all have our own bags of worries and fears instilled from our parents, our own experiences and lots of crappy TV shows.

As parents and humans, where do we draw the line in terms of allowing children to be  inquisitive explorers without instilling our fears onto them?     I think that is the lesson of THE RAKE which hangs  in the dark shed.

Do we allow the children to learn respect for the tool and how it can be used without  actually holding the rake for them and telling them this is how they do it or not do it?

Of course I am speaking metaphorically and it can be transferred to many things that we experience with our children everyday.

It is possible to  teach respect for THE RAKE  and here is some proof:


Kids working cooperatively! Beautiful

We had a great day of working in the garden (honestly I didn’t do anything in the garden, they did it all).   They added new soil to the old, raked it out, planted beans and watered.  The parents and I  stood and watched our future happening in front of us!  Lovely day, RAKE and all.  I would love to hear some feedback on this topic from my readers!!!


Planting sugar snap peas while mom watches.



More peas in the ground!


And still more peas!


The elusive worm!




The grand finale…. water!!