Pat Murphy….The December 10, 2016 class was titled, “Music makers, instruments, & components of music”. The Kids in the Garden Classes which are held on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 am have been growing in popularity. This is because they feature hands-on outdoor activities for youngsters from Kindergarten through 6th grade. The class sessions usually include conservation lessons. I’m only 71 and I usually learn something along with the kids.
The class fee is a very reasonable $5 per child, which supports the garden and helps offset the cost of the supplies. Accompanying adults must also pay the normal garden entry fee of $5 per person. Registration for the class includes your visit to the 14-acre Gardens. Pre-registration is required at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (760) 822-6824.
On this gray overcast winter day with a temperature high of 60 degrees, the class size was unusually small but Farmer Jones (Nancy B. Jones) was in her usual great form. She is a retired teacher who was instrumental in establishing several campus gardens in the Vista Unified School District. With her customary boundless energy she started the lesson with song. Four mothers, one grandmother and 5 kids joined in as we sang “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. Farmer Jones introduced a new volunteer, Donna Lomeli and announced that we would walk around later to look at some of the garden’s beautiful sculptures. She also let us know we were going to learn “what music is” and “what makes music.”
Photos by Mary Murphy
The next song was “Apples and Bananas” a song in which the simple verse is repeated but with the vowels all being the same and being different with each verse. We were all laughing at how we sounded. Farmer Jones explained Octaves and using her Autoharp she revealed how the long strings make the lowest notes and the short strings make the high notes.
Next the terms Pitch, Melody, Rhythm, Harmony, Tempo, and Volume were discussed. In between songs like “Bingo”, “The more we get together”, and “This Land Is My Land” were used to illustrate the concepts Farmer Jones was conveying to her attentive audience. The kids were so engaged that they failed to see the Dog Whisperer with 13 dogs below us and just past the Bocce courts.
Grandmother Teri Minoux was here for the first time and she had brought her granddaughter Sophia with her. Friends Wendi Fecteau and Susan Pack had brought their daughters. Wendi had been a babysitter for Susan’s 4 year old daughter 7 years ago. Now Wendi’s daughter is 4 years old and the ladies who are still friends were sharing this experience together. The other two children in the class belonged to the LaQuaglia family.
I took my leave of the group as they started down the trail from the Children’s Garden. I’ve been to all of the unique garden areas in the Alta vista Botanical Gardens and I always enjoy the walks but today I was wearing my dress shoes in preparation for my next journalistic stop at a Holiday Luncheon. As I passed the registration table I saw a row of water bottles with different levels of water inside. Accompanying this homemade xylophone on the table was a large curved and decorated gourd which I suspected was not empty. The decorated gourd turned out to be a rainstick donated by Alice Reule, a member of The Woman’s Club of Vista. I knew then that the kids would be making more music when they returned from their trek.
If you have children in this age range and want to provide them with quality family time next year… this is the place. Whenever my grandkids or great-grandkids are in town I find time to bring them to the gardens. Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is at 1270 Vale Terrace Drive and is open Daily from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday-Friday (Close 4:30 in Winter). On weekends the hours are 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Admission is only $5.00 for non-members but is Free with an annual Membership.