chapter  7
Sowing the seeds – a thematic approach to plant life in Early Years education
Pages 16

Plants are amazing things. They are delicious and deadly, gorgeous and ghastly, and are some of the biggest, smallest, tallest, heaviest, most useful living things on the planet. We eat them, burn them, shade under them and have found a million different uses for them; from building our houses to decorating our homes, from spicing our food to relieving our aches and pains. The ‘big ideas’ about the plant kingdom add up to this – we can’t live without them. We need


to understand and investigate plants, and ensure as many different species continue to grow simply because they are so vital to our existence. As educators we argue that it is essential that children begin to understand this branch of science so it’s our job to sow the seeds of understanding that will blossom into a real appreciation of plant life. (Plants get everywhere – try rewriting that sentence without the plant clichés!)

This chapter will start by outlining relevant concepts in relation to plants (structures, diversity, conditions for growth, lifecycles and classification) at both practitioner and appropriate child levels. It will consider the scientific process skills needed to investigate the plants as living organisms. The chapter will go on to suggest learning activities within broad Early Years themes such as ‘gardening’, ‘food’ and ‘the seasons’, illustrated with case studies, children’s story books, curriculum and ICT links.