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What Three Sister Farming Can Teach Our Preschoolers This Thanksgiving

This week at LANK included a visit from the multicultural committee to introduce a lesson on three sisters farming, the Native American practice of planting beans, corn and squash together. It seems that when planted together, all three grow stronger, fuller, and taller. Squash which is a very low-lying plant provides shade to the roots of both the corn and bean plants, while the bean plant feeds the soil making the dirt fertile for growth. The corn helps out too, as it’s tall stalks provide a sturdy place for the beans to climb. The children looked at photographs of all three vegetables, and also examined the seeds before creating medallions featuring the three seeds. They even sang a cute song to remind them of the inter-dependence. Thank you to Morgan Bate for arranging this treat!

The practice of planting these three important crops together is such a timely lesson during Thanksgiving and also as we go about our daily lives. At LANK where teachers work in teams, the message that “two heads are better than one” is clearly realized. Our creativity and problem-solving skills are greatly enhanced by working in pairs and with other teaching teams. Likewise, for very young children like preschoolers, cooperation is always preferred over competition. A great example of this cooperation is the recent wetu (wigwam) built by our five-day students from a refrigerator box. They painted it together, and enjoyed reading books with their friends inside it.

For society as a whole, the Thanksgiving holiday reminds us that much of the spiritual, and environmental wisdom that emanated from Native American culture is still meaningful to our lives today. As we sit down to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast, perhaps three sister farming will provide us new introspection about working and caring for each other.


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