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Help children plant a garden, and harvest their appreciation for the wonders of our natural world. From the first stage of seed selection, on through planting and tending to the garden, children develop a sense of pride and responsibility. They may also learn about math, writing, reading and science –
with your help!
Whether you’re a parent or early childhood professional, take children to libraries and local greenhouses to find out what to plant and how to take care of it. Or have children ask family, friends and neighbors about their gardening experiences. One discovery will lead to another. You don’t necessarily need a green thumb to reap the rewards!
Gardening is a great activity for learning, whether you’re in an urban or rural area. It’s also a good way to involve parents and the whole school or community. You may put out a flyer or newsletter, and hold a meeting to discuss sharing responsibilities. Parents or local organizations may even contribute soil or fertilizer to the project.
Decide whether you want to plant a square-foot garden, raised garden, or a conventional garden with rows, or a container garden made from empty mil cartons or flower pots. A garden need not be extensive or have dozens of kinds of plants. A barrel, a window box, or cut-in-half gallon jug will do nicely for a planter.
Whichever type of garden you choose, consider the climate and growing season before planting. Use sturdy, well-made tools and equipment. Shovels and hoes with short handles are easier for children to use than full-size tools. Adapt projects to adult’s level of experience and children’s ages.
Gardening is one way for children to learn through meaningful activities. The lessons children learn by “digging into” gardening will make for cherished memories of learning with adults. You’ll watch children’s sense of pride and accomplishment – along with your garden - grow!
Posted with permission from The National Association for the Education of Young Children.