"Children have an anxious concern for living beings, and the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest then in taking care of plants and animals. Nothing awakens foresight in a small child...so much as this. When he knows that...little plants will dry up if he does not water them, he binds together - with a new thread of love - today's passing moments with those of tomorrow." Dr Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
Dr Montessori's held a passion for promoting the connection between the child and nature - so if she was here today I feel confident that she would give this Eco Pot Maker her seal of approval.
The Eco Pot Maker simultaneously fulfils two vital elements of sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
1. It provides an opportunity to reuse newspaper before letting it biodegrade.
2. It encourages children to cultivate seeds and then plant these to grow plants.
The Eco Pot Maker kit comes with moulds to create biodegradable seedling pots from old newspaper. These moulds come in three different sizes; 3cm, 4.75cm and 6cm in diameter. After investing in the initial kit you can make an infinite amount of biodegradable pots!
The kit includes full instructions, but essentially the child rolls the folded paper around one of the pot-maker moulds and then pushes the bottom of the paper into the base. The child then slides (sometimes wriggles, depending on how tight it is!) the paper planter off the mould. These steps ensure that the Eco Pot Maker offers a great fine motor skill as well as promoting eco-friendly habits!
Once the paper pot has been moulded the child fills it with organic soil/potting mix and then plants the seed(s). The paper pot can be kept inside for up to a week for monitoring and nurturing. When the seedling is ready the child plants the paper pot itself into the soil of the garden. The newspaper will then naturally biodegrade, allowing the roots of the seedling to take hold in the broader area of soil.
I also personally appreciate the value that this resource offers. Nurturing seeds and seedlings has been a regular and constant part of our program. At one stage we used packs of small biodegradable pots for this task but over time the cost of this starts to build up. A parent suggested using egg containers for the seedlings but we have several children with anaphylactic allergies to eggs! The Eco Pot Maker kit provides the perfect solution for us - it allows us to continue using biodegradable pots, without any risk to children, for a single investment rather than an ongoing long-term cost!
The Eco-Pot Maker also makes it affordable to send seedlings home with the children! Each child can make his/her own eco-pot and then take it home to plant in his/her garden. This creates a really positive link between school and home, and ensures that sustainable practices are being promoted more broadly across the community!