If you’re a long-term reader of the Today’s Family Blog, you’ll know that we used to call it our Garden Blog. That’s how much we love growing and gardening together at Today’s Family!
We are lucky to have the space and opportunity to grow our own vegetable gardens at several of our Today’s Family Centres. We’re committed to healthy eating at all of our programs, and having the children grow their own vegetables is perhaps one of the coolest parts of that commitment.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that not all centres have enough room for a vegetable garden. Some of our programs are hosted at elementary schools, some of which have limited green space reserved for our program.
So, what are our intrepid Early Childhood Educators at one such program to do when their children wanted to explore plant lifecycles and growing flowers?
Well, they didn’t let the lack of soil stop them from heading outside for some garden exploring! Armed with some chalk (and a conveniently placed chalkboard), they made their own garden.
Even the threat of rain couldn’t keep this toddler class inside, as they were invited to imagine what their perfect garden could look like.
Ellie started the garden off with her favourite plant, a big yellow sunflower. She was excited to draw it growing as high as she could reach on the chalkboard. We were excited to see Ellie and her friends differentiate between the taller sunflowers and shorter other plants.
Ellie’s friends Dakota and Maya filled out the picture some more, drawing their favourite butterflies. Bayo added a picture of a bee. These animal additions were so important to have included – it means that these toddlers had noticed butterflies and bees in their own adventures outside. They also gave our ECEs an excuse to explain how important bees, butterflies, and other bugs are to helping plants grow big and strong.
The picture was coming along nicely, but there was still something important missing. It took a little hinting, but eventually these terrific toddlers drew on a sun, clouds, and rain. Our great ECEs taught that plants need sun and water to grow as well! These are things that children wouldn’t necessarily associate with a complete garden, so once again, their inclusion showed that the children were retaining information that was being given to them.
These children didn’t allow limited resources to hamper their learning experiences. This simple exercise opened the entire group of children to talking about their favourite flowers, bugs, and weather! Talking through things, as well as listening to what their friends liked, is one of the best ways young children learn and retain information. So, there you have it. We’re back to being a bit of a Garden Blog after all!