Parents en route to the Hive may have noticed a few changes to the old baby garden plot over the last few weeks. We are in the process of moving our plant and veg growing area from the bottom of the main garden to the old baby garden plot. Here we hope to build upon our last few years of gardening achievements. These achievements have formed half of our evidence towards gaining The Department of Public Health: Healthy Outcomes Certificate, an award that myself (Lucy), Ed and Charlotte attended a presentation evening for!
Learning about where our food comes from and growing our own is a great activity for young children to encourage them to develop healthy attitudes towards food that will stay with them for life. We aim to get all of the Den children engaged in some kind of gardening activity during the Spring and Summer terms. Previous years have seen great crops of radishes and strawberries, which the children enjoyed as part of their snack times. We have also had small successes with carrots and tomatoes.
Growing your own fruit and veg encourages children to eat them and therefore promotes a healthy balanced diet, but the physical activity of gardening is also beneficial. We know that children need to be active for at least three hours each day* and adults also need to be more active. Therefore, what better way is there than to get outside, dig the soil and carry buckets and watering cans around the garden.
Changes to the plot so far have included the introduction of a ‘strawberry bed’! Literally a bed (donated by a parent) that is now planted up with strawberries. We also have some herbs growing in tyres, these herbs can be used for sensory play and can be added to things like play dough for multi-sensory exploration.
We have planted some seeds, including tomatoes, sunflowers and sweet peas, and there will be more to come! The children were encouraged to explore the texture of the soil and get their hands dirty! We talked about the different shapes, colours and sizes of the seeds and we were amazed by the concept that a whole plant could develop and grow from such a tiny thing, if we look after it well.
We plan to plant more seeds over the next few weeks and more planting schemes will be introduced as the plot develops!
*UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidance 2011 (Also, now in the updated EYFS Statutory Framework, April ‘17)