Graphic representation of the top of an orange pumpkin with a green stem on a pale green background.

What does a child learn from studying the life cycle of the common pumpkin plant?

Kindergarteners enrolled at Campus School spend a considerable part of the first year in the company of pumpkins. It begins in the fall, when the class journeys to a local garden patch to choose squashes for study. In the weeks and months that follow, the children observe and measure the pumpkins, weigh themselves against them on a see-saw scale, and perhaps even break one open in a quest to understand its inner workings.

Eventually, one special pumpkin will come to rest in a few inches of soil at the base of the classroom’s terrarium, where it remains under a plastic-wrap tent while students observe and document this stage of the pumpkin plant’s journey. Slowly, as the children keep watch day by day, the pumpkin enmeshes with and enriches the soil. Campus School Kindergartners think about what might happen next: Perhaps the seeds will embed and germinate. With luck, a sprout will thicken into a vine, which will someday produce a bud, a blossom, and then another pumpkin.

What do you instill in a child when you teach the life cycle of the common pumpkin plant? Well, the process by which squash grows, of course. But also: Curiosity in the face of change. Patience with long cycles. Optimism in moments of uncertainty. And an abiding sense of extraordinary possibilities.

At Campus School we focus intently on the intellectual and academic development of our students, bringing the latest and most effective instructional methods into their classrooms every day. But we are also devoted to helping young minds tap into the wonder of learning, and to shaping each child into a brave thinker, eager to explore, to create, and to understand—even in moments of uncertainty, challenge, and change.

A group of children walking along a wide pathway in a wooded setting with a smiling teacher.

“We prepare our children for all the challenges of high school, college, and careers. But we also prepare them to be true to themselves as they enter the world.” - faculty member