Cultivating Lifelong Lessons in the Garden
Hello Spring! Spring is a spectacular time to be outside; not too hot, not too cold and our beautiful outdoor areas are in full flourish with this change of season. Gardening sees our Greenwood children planting, maintaining their gardens, harvesting fresh produce, cooking what they’ve grown and the kids have the opportunity to learn responsibility and how to cooperate collaboratively.
Not only do children develop an understanding of nutrition, they learn where food comes from and develop healthy eating habits in the process. In addition to taking the classroom outdoors and learning about the environment, children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables later in life. Embedding these ideas early on, seeds the opportunity for life long healthy habits.
Seeding Curiosity and Empowerment
Whilst children learn in different ways, we know that learning through doing and unstructured play allows children to participate in active learning and extend their thinking. Being in the Greenwood Gardens is particularly positive for inspiring creativity, developing nurturing skills as well as empowering kids to make choices, engage in conversations that excite them and ask questions.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
A key part of Greenwood’s philosophy and nestled into our G-Curriculum is G Earth. Our G Earth program allows Greenwood children to learn about the importance of preserving our natural environment through hands-on activities, like planting fruit, vegetable and herb gardens and then incorporating the fresh produce into their lunches. The children not only see first-hand how gardens flourish and grow, but also how the practical benefits of composting and worm farming supports our ecosystem.
Greenwood’s resident Urban Environmental Educator, Adrian Baiada has been visiting our centres sharing his skills, ideas and passion for gardening with the children and helping transform our urban spaces into thriving edible gardens. He’s excited to get the children outside and exploring their own natural environment. Here’s an update from Adrian on the happenings in our Greenwood gardens this Spring!
“The Greenwood gardens are in full swing for spring! I love getting the children to use their own fresh and seasonal fruits and veggies that grow in their own garden, and we certainly have a lovely variety coming in, including tomatoes, basil, eggplants, capsicum, zucchini and cucumbers. Going out we have broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.”
Extending the Educational Opportunities
Cooking is another extension of learning beyond the garden. A recent learning experience at Greenwood Brookvale saw our Preschoolers make their own flatbread with garlic and herbs from their garden. The children took turns cutting rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint, they then learnt how yeast is a key ingredient when making the dough.
The learning didn’t stop there though – the kids utilised problem solving and numeracy skills to determine how they could split the dough into 4 even balls of dough. After experimenting with interesting herb combinations to discover delicious new flavours, our Greenwood Brookvale Preschoolers were in accord of the rosemary and garlic flatbread as the winning combination.
Our Preschoolers have been busy rolling, kneading, squeezing and forming dough with their little hands – a perfect activity to build their fine motor skills, dexterity and imaginative problem-solving skills.
You might not realise, but this is all play based learning. Working with dough and the process of cooking is a form of creative play and prompts their little minds to start thinking about how they’re going to create something – a really tangible experience to utilise their imaginative problem-solving skills.
Adrian shares his belief in the earth to plate concept saying, “It is fantastic getting the children involved and lending a hand in their own garden, which they do thrive at and are very proud of, but they also loved putting their chef hats on and get cooking!”
A Sensory Playground
The Greenwood gardens also play a major role in the Greenwood children’s sensory exploration, not only through what they taste in their food picked from the garden, but also encouraging them to play, create, investigate and explore the great outdoors. The plants in our gardens each have very different and specific textures, flavours and Spring is the perfect time for them to set out and explore the sensory playground they have in their own backyard!