Wednesday, March 31, 2010

gardening with children at preschool

Gardening is a wonderful way to for children to discover, explore and learn. 

And what child doesn't enjoy mucking around in dirt? 

The beauty of gardening in a preschool program is that you can involve children every step of the way. 

From learning about different kinds of plants and deciding what to grow;

digging and preparing the garden beds;

adding the soil;


recycling food scraps for the worms;

caring for the worms;


and preparing and sharing food.

The whole process of gardening, easily woven into the fabric of a preschool day, is an extended sensory and learning process which could start with researching the right plants to grow, preparing the soil, digging and planting, watering, weeding and observing the plants growing and flowering.

How does your garden grow?

(This post is a part of the Nature and Children Blog Carnival at Backyard Mama)

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  2. Oh Jenny I LOVE this! What perfect timing! We are currently in the middle of faze two of our 'Hush Garden' rejuvenation and will include an article on our website once we return to kinder and finish it off with the children. And guess what? After reading you article the other day "a pause in nature after a busy morning at preschool" and drooling over your beautiful setting and whingeing that I wanted a creek ... well, Sherry and I thought WHY NOT? Okay it won't flow with water like your creek (unless the rains come of course) but a dry creek bed will still be awesome! We're so excited that we spent several hours yesterday saucing suitable plants, rocks and pebbles for the project. It's going to be irresistible! I can't wait to get back to kinder to put the kids to work!
    Thanks for more inspiration, Donna :)

  3. It's perfect timing for me too, Jenny!

    As you know we've recently reclaimed our garden and planting season is upon us. We're all so excited that we've already filled up all the beds with flowers! Unfortunately, what the kids really want to grow is food and worms.

    Time to take a deep breath and do some planning . . . On Monday, I think I'll see if we can get the children actively involved in that part of the process.

  4. I love Gardening. Every year I have a big beautiful garden, and designate a special space for my Munchkin to romp in....complete with all the best flowers and veggies for her to work on her gardening skills. Something I think is EXTRA important when gardening with Children (especially if flowers are included) is to know which plants are poisonous. For instance: Tomatoes plants and potatoes. Both very toxic (any green part of the potato) and the plant of the tomato. Delphiniums, lupines, foxglove, hydrangea, rhododendruns, azaleas......I could definitely go on. :) I'd suggest finding a comprehensive list of toxic plants and plan your gardening accordingly. On the plus side, it is SUCH a great way to teach about life cycles and to immerse your children in nature with their own personal investment.

  5. A lovely posting. Thanks for sharing. You may want to check out how to do "Worm Attitude Tests"

    With regard to the issues around toxicity of plants, please have a look at "Wee Green Fingers". There's a link to the RHS website that has a list of toxic plants. In my experience, routines and procedures tend to ensure that children do not tend to munch bulbs and other poisonous parts of parts of plants.

    Saying that there was an interesting scenario in one school where I once worked with children hallucinating after playing in dirt that contained fungal spores...!

  6. What a sensational experience for the kids. It will give you so many further activities as well and points for discussion.

  7. Sherry and Donna: that sounds so exciting. I will have dry creek bed envy :) Look forward to seeing / reading about the whole process because we would love to put one in too. Do you have the Sue Elliot book "The Outdoor Playspace Naturally"? There are loads of great photos in there for inspiration.

    Tom: You space will look lovely with the added colour of flowers. Not all our kids are into gardening - I find it is mainly the ones who enjoy doing "real grown up" jobs and activities.

    Missy: So true about being careful about what you plant. We have clear boundaries about our kids picking / eating what we plant and we don't plant anything toxic. Your list was really helpful - I didn't know that about the tomato plant.

    Juliet: I just checked out your resources and then got stuck reading through all the other stuff you have on delicious. I could be there all week! Thanks for taking the time to give me the links.

    PlanningQueen: So true - gardening integrates so many areas of learning. Just the other day we were noticing some leaves were being nibbled which led to a whole discussion about what it could be doing the damage.

  8. Thanks Jenny, I'll have to check out Sue Elliot's book for added ideas ... I'm so excited about the whole project!
    Donna :)