For the past 5 years, I have worked alongside some of the very best elementary teachers in Vermont as a nature immersion educator.
In this incredibly unique experience, I have spent brief hours in the classroom watching over 20 master teachers work magic with their students. I have witnessed the magic continue as we extended our learning beyond the boundaries of the classroom and schoolyard, into the forest for hours every week together.
The students are guided to explore the forest with their senses, meeting science, math and literacy standards all the while. When spring arises each year, there is a palpable brimming of joy and discovery. During this time, an idea arose from many conversations with these committed teachers: Let's have tea with the students. Let's create a space where they can grow perennial herbs in their school gardens, harvest them in the fall, dry the plants in the classroom and make tea from these plants for themselves and their classmates during the school year.
Let's empower them to understand how these plants work in their bodies by asking them what it feels like before and after they drink the tea. Let's invite them to trust in the native intelligence from within themselves. Alongside our tea parties will grow a cozy corner for students who need a short break to take a moment and sip their tea. There will be potted herbs in the winter for students to tend to and smell. But most of all, there will be humanity and compassion, for we always want to share a cup of tea with a friend.
And so, from these conversations evolves
The Tea Project.
Imagine your favorite 5-year old on the first day of kindergarten. She is (circle one or more):
She arrives at her new classroom and is greeted by her teacher who welcomes her to choose a beautiful teacup and saucer, sit in the "tea corner" with her new classmates, and share a cup of herbal tea. This tea was harvested from the perennial herb garden outside the classroom where she will visit and play later in the day. She learns that when she arrives to school with a stomach ache, a headache, or a tired body, she is empowered to help herself to a cup of calming chamomile tea with the help of her teacher.
Imagine a world where this is how we start the school day. Let's make it happen together.
What is the Tea Project:
Elementary students grow and harvest medicinal herbs that create 6-10 different herbal healing teas in the classroom over the long Vermont winter. Students understand which herbs to use for which common conditions and are empowered to care for themselves and each other. Social-emotional intelligence in the classroom grows with each cup of tea.
Register for a series of educational classroom & school garden workshops to create herbal perennial tea gardens, harvest medicinal plants, and use them to make tea as a daily practice in the classroom. How to plant, care, harvest and formulate tea for the whole class community. Lesson Plans and Curriculum Maps are part of the package, working with the plants in all their forms is also part of the package.
Early Fall 2017:
Establish the garden beds.
Build a drying rack.
Learn how to prepare herbal tea.
Prepare teabags for winter.
Harvest, Dry and Garble herbs for classroom Tea Corner.
In depth plant research with the plants in your tea.
Mindful tea sipping.
Care for potted herbs.
Establish a "materia medica" for the classroom herbs using information students have gathered from their individual experiences drinking the tea.
March-May 2018 :
Seed and plant seedlings for the spring garden.
Establish indoor growing rack & care for seedlings.
Study the beginning of the life cycle of seeds. (optional)
Sprout edible sprout seeds for a wild salad. (optional)
Wild harvest spring ephemerals, dandelions, colts foot, plantain, violets and make medicine from these plants.
Or create flower essences from spring ephemeral flowers and tree flowers for students to carry with them as a class through the Elementary years. (optional)
Ultimately, the design of our consultations is open to your creation. I can work with the class the entire time or I can work directly with you as professional development so you can present the information to the class. The sky is the limit, we can co-teach and design this in the way that is best for you and your students.
In our pilot year of the Tea Project, 2017-18, I am looking to work with a small number of dedicated teachers who are interested in seeing the project through the school year, and integrating the routine of drinking tea into the daily schedule. If this describes you, please contact me and we can discuss cost and design.
Sign up now, consulting spaces are limited!