Compost Stew

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With Earth Day just around the corner, there’s no better time to get your kids excited about composting!

It’s been said today’s children are tomorrow’s future so teaching them how they can keep our earth beautiful is an investment that will pay dividends.

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals made for a perfect literary connection as we explored the topic of composting during our “Save the Planet” unit.


But before we get to the book, let’s learn a bit more on the subject of composting so you will able to converse with your “stewards of the earth”. 

Composting is nature’s way of recycling. It is the end product of the composting process which uses materials such as food waste, paper, grass and coffee grounds to create usable fertilizer.

This nutrient-rich “hummus” can then be added to your garden to fuel plant growth and restore vitality to depleted soil. Now that we’ve gotten that lesson out of the way, let’s get on with the show.


Before introducing the story, I asked the children if they’d ever heard of the word “compost”. At first everyone said no. But after explaining that they had a compost bin in their classroom where they put food scraps, we at last had a jumping off point to start the conversation.

I then went on to talk about what can be put in the compost bin. This discussion worked well since we’d talked the week prior about what to put in the recycle bin. 

The first page of the story immediately offered up a chance to sing what would be our theme song throughout the story. Want to hear it? Just click the link below.

>>>Click here to hear the song!!<<<

By adding a song throughout the story, the kids stayed engaged because they knew they had a part to play.  Bringing a song into a read aloud really is magic and I LOVE to do it.  Whenever a short song can be added to the telling of a story, do it! The chance that the listener will maintain attention as well as retain the experience is upped because more entry points have been provided into the activity with which they can engage and use to recall the learning at a later date.

And now for the lesson plan…

Compost Stew


  • Understanding the process of composting
  • singing
  • connecting literature to a theme


Auditory, Visual, Tactile



Ask the children if they’ve ever heard the word “compost”. Read Compost Stew and sing the song below immediately after the words “compost stew”.
At the end of the story tell them that you’ve been making some compost stew and you brought a little bit to show them. Pass the bag of soil around so each child gets a chance to touch it. As the children check out the bag, tell them all of the different items it is made from ie. banana peels, orange rinds etc. Ask them if they can see any of those items in the compost stew. Why not?


Compost stew, we’re makin’ compost stew.

What ‘cha gonna put in your compost stew?

Here’s a clue.


Check out this great website with tons of extensions for Compost Stew created by the author. Click here!

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for all your wonderful suggestions and songs for preschool teachers. I have been singing with my children for many years. I am known for being able to sing about anything. I lived in Puyallup for 26 years and taught at the Tacoma School Head Start program. I now live in Knoxville, TN and teach for Douglas Cherokee Head Start program. I truly believe a musical classroom helps with behaviors and keeps them engaged during circle time. Thank you again for all your songs and tips. They help me to fresh in my teaching.

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