As part of our partnership with the Early Learning Centers at Metro Nashville Public Schools, we are collaborating with teachers to deepen the Creative Curriculum in use at these innovative pre-k centers. One of our favorite projects this year has been the Clothing Study, which focuses on many aspects of what we wear and how clothing is made. Through our garden, we can learn firsthand about growing cotton fiber and processing it into cloth.

We start by saving cotton seed from bolls grown during the last season:

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We discover seeds inside the cotton bolls, so we save them for spring planting and card the remaining fiber to straighten it and prepare it for spinning.

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It is fascinating to watch a spinning wheel in motion! We wonder how it works:

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After we have made our cotton fiber into yarn, we experiment with dyes made from things that grow in a garden. We explore turmeric root and grape juice.

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The next step is weaving our yarn into fabric. We learn all about different types of looms, and we get to try weaving with different methods:

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Finally, we celebrate what we have learned by displaying our work to share with our school community:

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We look forward to planting our cotton seeds when the soil warms, continuing the cycle for next year’s students. “Seed to Table” and even “Seed to Garment” are important concepts for us at Plant the Seed, as we believe that observing the process of a garden gives us new insight into the world and our place in it.