Savoring autumn harvest

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By Beth Pinyerd

As a teacher, decorating my classroom in harvest theme, preparing autumn lesson plans and pre-planning fall field trips are activities that have always won my heart!
Having a son who now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the autumn colors are vibrant and breathtaking, I now pre-plan a long distant field trip to Michigan each year to celebrate God’s beautiful world.
October is a month which celebrates seasonal delights. We celebrate apples during the month of October. National Apple Month was started as National Apple Week back in 1904. Along the way, this observance evolved into National Apple Month with three goals which are:
1) To increase the sale of apples.
2) Encourage the use of apples.
3) Promote the health benefits of apples.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers.
Weekend family field trips to community apple orchards to pick apples are good lessons and memory makers for children. Stopping by curb markets to allow your children to select a basket of delicious apples is another good learning experience. We have so many different kinds of American apples: McIntosh, Fuji, Red Delicious, Gala, Crispin, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, etc.
We Baby Boomers can remember recess time at our schools where we looked forward to our big, juicy-red apples for snack even more than the free play. Apples’ nutrients have many health benefits.
As a preschool teacher, I love to see apples included in snacks and lunch boxes. While eating apples, children can learn parts of the apple which are the skin, stem, flesh and seeds. While cutting an apple horizontally, a star will appear in the pulp with seeds for the children to observe, count and plant.
Children enjoy drinking apple juice and apple cider. Helping them to make simple apple sauce or to fix baked apples gives them math lessons in measuring and lessons on smelling, seeing and tasting.
Because harvest time for pumpkins is during October, what better time to designate October as “National Pumpkin Month.” Once the calendar reflects autumn, we see pumpkins sprouting out of grocery stores, road market stands, pumpkin patches, arrangements on tables, art shows and fall gardens.
Yes, autumn has arrived, and I am ready to see along with young and old, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”
We teach children that pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cantaloupe, watermelons and honeydew melons. They are fruits and not vegetables.
Pumpkins serve food and recreation purposes. We begin to eat and enjoy pumpkin pie early into fall, and pumpkin pie is a delicious tradition on our Thanksgiving tables. Carved pumpkins shine into the night as jack-o’-lanterns on Halloween!
I love to be around children as they experience a world full of changes in the fall!
As parents and teachers, we can catch the imagination of young children and make this season a wonderful educational opportunity and memory maker.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years, as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd, and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd, who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@charter.net.

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