Something is happening at our Greendale Center. Something exciting. It’s that time of year, again. It’s time to plant our gardens. “The gardens are one of my favourite places to be at Today’s Family!” Melissa tells me. Melissa is in charge of our gardens here at Greendale, and since the ground has officially thawed, and garden shops have officially opened, we thought we’d pop in and ask her a few questions about our annual growing projects!
“Each classroom is assigned a raised bed that they take care of,” Melissa explained to us. As to what gets planted in those beds, well, that’s up to the children. “Last year we were very successful with our zucchini, carrots and lettuce. We also had a bean teepee that the children could explore inside and pick the beans off to snack on while playing!”
Everything that the children of Today’s Family grow goes right back to the Greendale kitchens, which transform their fruits and vegetables into delicious home-cooked meals. “My favourite moments out in the garden are when the children realize they can eat something they just plucked from the ground. The look of disbelief and then pure joy is incredible,” Melissa says. Not only does this ensure that our children have access to fresh fruits and veggies, but it also has some cool educational benefits too! As Melissa told us, “We think it is important to educate children on where their food comes from and to explore healthy options that can come from your backyard not a package.”
And, well, the kids love it! “Children are also so excited to share they food they grow with everyone, they want to show it off and let everyone know of their accomplishments. Giving the children that sense of pride bringing a basket full of fresh food into the kitchen for our cook to prepare will hopefully instill the desire to maybe try their own small garden at home or later on in their lives.”
So just how involved are these children in their gardens? Obviously our infant classrooms need a little bit of help, but our preschoolers are active gardeners. They transplant seedlings, water the plants, weed the boxes, and harvest the food.
And this year, Melissa has big plans for the gardens. “We are moving up from 1 bean teepee to 4, in each corner of the garden. I would like to plant some climbing ivy or nasturtiums along the wooden archway. We are planting potatoes (if anyone has ones hiding at home with eyes/tubers growing from them we would happily accept the donation!) We will grow vegetables that are on our menu like lettuces, carrots, zucchini, squash, various herbs. We are also planning to line the Garth Street fence with sunflowers.” But one classroom is doing something really new and exciting: “Room 9 is planning on planting a bee garden! They are busy researching the plants bees love and need to thrive.” How exciting!
Until next time!
– Today’s Family