The Benefits of Gardening with Children in a Child Care Setting
Gardening with children is the cornerstone of a holistic childcare program.
Bambini provides children with ample opportunities to explore nature, plants, and gardening. It’s one of the defining characteristics that sets Bambini apart as a high-quality childcare program.
This article highlights the key benefits of gardening with children and how Bambini includes gardening in its holistic childcare centres.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GARDENING WITH CHILDREN?
The children in Bambini participate in gardening activities so that they can experience a connection to the food they eat.
In our modern society, children often draw the conclusion that food comes from the grocery store.
By providing gardening opportunities to our children, they learn at an early age about the process food goes through in order to make it from the farm to our dinner table.
The best way to “teach” the value of nurturing is to help a child experience nurturing.
Plant and garden care gives children the opportunity to care for a living thing. Moreover, the benefits of nurturing plants are tangible to children. For instance:
- They get to enjoy the beauty of plants.
- Children have an opportunity to observe plants thrive under their care.
- They get to enjoy the delicious taste of the foods they grow
As with most early childhood experiences, there are ample learning opportunities that present themselves naturally while educators facilitate gardening with children. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Science: such as cause and effect, experimentation, plant life cycles, weather, etc.
- Math: this can be explored by counting out seeds to plant, measuring seedlings, monitoring temperatures, etc.
- Literacy: making garden markers/signs, documenting plant care, recording plants and measurements, etc.
As a Reggio-inspired program, often long-term projects come from our time spent gardening with the children. These projects provide ample opportunities for the children to explore and represent their understanding and learnings from the activity of gardening.
Gardening also contributes to children’s physical well-being.
- Gardening gives children an opportunity to spend time outside in the fresh air.
- This activity helps them practice the discipline of mindfulness, as gardening encourages the participant to be in the moment.
- Gardening develops children’s motor skills because often the child has to use different tools and exercise various muscles in order to use those tools effectively (i.e. digging with a spade, raking, using a hoe, etc.).
- By giving children an opportunity to experience a connection to the foods they grow, gardening also encourages children to try foods they might otherwise not eat.
WHAT DOES GARDENING WITH CHILDREN LOOK LIKE AT BAMBINI?
The children often start seedlings early in the spring. They help choose the seeds they wish to start and use various means to start growing the seeds. Over the weeks that follow, the children observe and tend to the seeds by watering them and ensuring they are getting enough light.
After the seedlings have grown to a reasonable size, the children assist in the process of transplanting the seedlings into our centre gardens. This step is usually done around the end of May.
Throughout the summer months, the children water and weed the garden. Sometimes they assist in pruning the plants too.
Come the end of summer and early autumn, the children assist in the harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens. They enjoy sampling what they’ve grown and sometimes make delicious recipes using the ingredients they’ve grown too!
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE BENEFITS OF GARDENING WITH CHILDREN
To conclude, there are many benefits of gardening with children. As this article discussed, Bambini provides ample opportunities for children to make holistic connections and to experience the benefits of gardening first-hand.
Bambini Learning Group is a holistic child care program located in Edmonton, Alberta. Their vision is to inspire families to live healthier, more meaningful lives. Through innovative, holistic, and supportive resources, Bambini is helping children live the authentic childhood they deserve. New locations coming soon! Contact Bambini for more information about their unique, holistic child care program at [email protected], or book a tour to see Bambini for yourself!
JENNIFER BLY is the Pedagogy and Administrative Coordinator for Bambini Learning Group. She’s a published author, and creator of The Deliberate Mom, a website full of parenting and homemaking inspiration. Jennifer has over 20 years of experience in the Early Childhood field. In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.