Taking Care of the Vegetable Garden

17 students, 5th and 6th grade, Manuela Zubizarreta School, Etxebarria

17 students, 5th and 6th grade, Manuela Zubizarreta School, Etxebarria

Language: Basque
Artist: Manu Muniategiandikoetxea
Teacher: Mari José Arrieta

The project took the school vegetable garden as a hub for creation and learning. The plants in a garden need care, which means involvement and commitment. Just like humans—or, more generally, like nature and the environment.

What do we talk about when we talk about care? What do we want to take care of? In a collective mural, the students drew a symbolic “garden” containing what they thought they should care for: family and friends, pets, toys, trophies, special objects, experiences like a trip to Paris, memories, memorable moments, etc. They also included more general things, such as nature, water, art, languages, and books. In the process, they thought about how to “plant the seeds” of care for the environment. In an effort to extend the project to other school groups, they were invited to make contributions to the mural. The idea was to emphasize the collective nature of the process, which meant respecting and caring for others.

Inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso they had seen at the Museum, the students made hand sculptures as a symbol of care. Picasso made a plaster cast of his right hand by placing his palm in ductile material.

Afterwards, the class moved the creative studio to the garden, which became the meeting point of nature and art. Here, the children made a garden-inspired installation. In real-life gardens, plants are kept upright with the help of stakes. In their simbolic garden, plants bore special fruits like friendship, love, kindness, and safety. In order to help the fruits ripen, they used concrete bases where they could “plant” the stakes, coming up with a wide range of clever molds for their bases. Along the creative process, they became familiar with key concepts such as trial and error, originality, and the skills required to go from imagination to expression. In so doing, they developed learning strategies, learned things about themselves, found new ways of looking at the world, and built self-confidence.