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Composting with a Preschooler - Using a Worm Farm (Vermi-composting). Practical Life Activity.

Montessori practical life worm farm at How we Montessori Otto three years

This term Otis (in yr 4) is an Eco-Warrior representative for his class. This means he gets to take out the compost and do other environmentally responsible tasks. He started a discussion about what we could do to reduce our waste at home. Otis and I thought about starting a worm farm. We previously used the Bokashi composting method but it was no longer suitable for our growing family. We decided to try a worm farm. Otis helped to set it up and does most of the maintenance. A great flow-on effect is the whole family has been involved in the worm farm, no more so than our preschooler Otto (3yrs).

Once it's set up it's easy to get young children involved, and they are fascinated by the worms. Did you know that compost worms can eat half their body weight in food every day and don't have eyes!

What to feed worms chart worm farm at How we Montessori

Today Otto and I prepared some food scraps. We check that our compost is ok for the worms. While most fruits and vegetables are ok things like citrus and onion can't go into the worm farm. This is a good discussion point for preschoolers, we take time to look at what worms can and can't eat. Yes, they can eat paper!

What to feed worms chart worm farm at How we Montessori

We chop of some of the bigger pieces of food to make it easier and faster for the worms to eat. As Otto loves to chop he will often do this while I'm in the kitchen doing other food prep.

Lifting the blanket worm farm at How we Montessori Sydney

Otto lifts the blanket which keeps the worms cozy and safe (and helps to keep the moisture in). I love that this worm farm is at a good height for young children, it's easy for them to look in and check on the worms. It's also fun to show friends when they come and visit. 

Feeding worms in worm farm at How we Montessori three year old practical life

Otto adds the food scraps and we dig it in a little.

Worm farm at How we Montessori practical life three year old

This is Otto's favourite part. He loves picking up and observing the worms. 

Studying worms at how we Montessori worm farm preschool

We can see worms in varying stages of maturity and in different sizes, some are getting really big! When we first started the worm farm Otto didn't like holding the worms but now he's digging for them and will stay with them for as long as he's allowed. This is hand-on learning!!

How we Montessori worm farm tea for garden Sydney

Time to get out the worm tea (leachate) which we can put on our garden! We are using the Worm Cafe by Tumbleweed (AU).

How we Montessori books about worms and worm farms for kids

Yucky Worms / Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System

Yucky Worms is good educational picture book about Earth Worms. Worms Eat My Garbage is a comprehensive book for children and adults, perhaps from 8-9yrs+.

Early next year our Council (Randwick, NSW) is introducing a new Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) weekly collection service. We will continue to use our worm farm and the FOGO will be fantastic for other organic waste and extra food that the worm farm can't accommodate!

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