It all started on a sunny autumn day, after a very heavy rain. The tigers ( 5 year olds) were curious about the water in the field, so we went on a nature walk…
We started walking towards the “lake”, the children were very excited! On our way one of the girls found a plastic bottle on the grass and she suggested picking it up to keep the field clean. When we were close to the water, the children started exploring the grass and to their surprise the found many worms trying to escape from the soggy grass. One of the boys shouted: “We have to save them or they are going to die!” and so they did!
Even the daintiest little girl started to pick up worms from the grass. They were really engaged in this “bailout”! Cata, the girl who had picked up the plastic bottle, suggested putting them inside it to be able to take them to the classroom.
Once back in the classroom we put the “survivors” in a jar with soil with the label “worms” in the science centre. They were safe!
To take advantage of the children´s interest in the worms we had found, we decided to start an interdisciplinary and cooperative project on vermicomposting. Although the species are different, the ones we saved were earthworms and the ones used for vermicomposting are red worms (Eisenia foetida), we thought it was a promising start.
Vermicomposting is a way to produce rich fertilizers in a healthy and inexpensive way which improves our environment. Red worms eat organic waste and transform it into humus which contains reduced levels of contaminants and a lot of nutrients. It is a way of recycling organic leftovers.
As our children have lunch and a snack at school every day, we thought it was a good idea for them to recycle the waste they make, becoming part of a real life situation where they were going to be able to participate in all the process. From keeping the banana skin they brought for the snack and cutting its skin to feed the worms to collecting the humus produced overtime to fertilize our vegetable garden.
Our main objective is to help children understand the importance of recycling by being active participants in the process.