Gloves: tips to keep at hand
"I wasn't long in the role of garden educator when I realised that a significant part of each class was spent processing gardening gloves. Some children could put gloves on, while others struggled, and for the most part, I was left with a pile of wet, mismatched gloves at the end of each day!"
So told us Kate Beckwith, the Foundation's Professional Development Coordinator, and a former Garden Specialist. Gloves are an integral part of gardening, and we know how tricky it can be to make sure you keep them all organised so that one student isn’t left with two right gloves or no gloves at all. We got in touch with some of the Kitchen Garden specialists and teachers to see what they could share about keeping gloves organised to help with the smooth running of their programs.
Yuki Cameron from Westgarth Primary School has organised their gloves on the door of the garden shed. All displayed by size, and separated by colour, the system allows students to grab the size they need and – hot tip! – for teachers and volunteers to take the largest from the top rows where only they can reach them. The school has approximately 30 pairs of gloves for students and 10 for staff/volunteers. She told us that she is slowly building her way, year-by-year, to 60 pairs of gloves so that one set can be washed while the other is in use. And by slowly purchasing gloves, Yuki has invested in high quality, slightly more expensive gloves because they last longer and “don’t have rubber that will go hard and crack”.
Orderly gloves at Westgarth Primary School
At Karama Primary School, Garden and Kitchen Specialist Prajita Juneja has a system where she hangs their 30 gloves on a wooden board with fold-back clips nailed onto it. As children come back into the classroom, the routine is for them to “line up near the door, with gloves on, rub your hands together, shake off the dirt, a few claps, then pull one, pull two, grab the wrist of number one with number two.”
Similarly, at Westgarth, Yuki asks students to hang their pairs of gloves back up on the shed door at the end of the gardening session. This incidentally means that the gloves tend to stay in their pairs! For dirty gloves, Yuki gets students to put their gloves in a bucket to soak, then students scrub the gloves until they are clean enough to go through the washing machine. Yuki takes the gloves home to wash so they don’t get mixed up in the kitchen laundry, but if she does have to wash the gloves at school, she makes sure to run an empty tub clean cycle so the dirt doesn’t stick around for kitchen laundry. Prajita washes all the gloves once every two or three weeks.
To ensure that children can identify their left and right gloves, Bronwyn Haynes from Laggan Public School has the gloves laid out on the table so children can rest their hands on top of the gloves and recognise which glove goes on which hand. Similarly, Yuki has students practice matching the shape of the glove to the shape of their hands. She also has a trick where “you hold your hands out in front of you and look at the shape that your hand and thumbs make, the left hand thumb makes a capital 'L' shape, that's how we know that glove goes on your left hand.”
Grandma's Gloves, Kate's favourite story to link through to learning about glove wear and care
Brooke King, Kitchen Garden Coordinator at Portland North Primary School is about to trial a new system whereby there will be a washing line for each class, plus one named peg per student. The plan is for each child to peg their gloves on the line at the end of the class, and that if dirty, they will wash in a bucket, rinse in another and place on the line. Adding: “The line will be in the hot house, so they should dry and be out of the way for other classes!” She hopes that during class if they don’t need their gloves they peg them up, preventing them from being forgotten and left in the garden. Good luck Brooke!
Back to Kate: "I wanted my students to understand the value of wearing gloves during gardening tasks, as well as the reasons why we take care of them. I found that teaching glove skills and care as an explicit class on at the beginning of the school year really helped: we read the story book Grandma's Gloves about gardening gloves, practiced donning and doffing gloves and cleaning and hanging them on the line. My students LOVED this lesson: they were so excited to be able to manage their gloves independently, and felt very important showing off their newly acquired skills to their families at home. The gloves have never been happier!"
For further tips, members can find out more on the Shared Table, with our resource, A gloves lesson.
Top image courtesy Collingwood College.
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