Spending time outdoors in the natural environment can have many important benefits for early childhood development, helping children improve social, emotional, and academic skills.
When choosing a childcare centre for your child, it’s a good idea to consider garden spaces and gardening programs. Some centres offer specific teaching activities that include maintaining vegetables gardens and learning about the natural environment.
Here’s why you should consider gardens when choosing childcare centres!
Encouraging healthy lifestyles
Taking part in gardening programs at childcare can support children to learn about healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
At childcare, your child may be encouraged to help maintain an onsite vegetable garden, where they can learn about common fruits and vegetables and understand the journey food takes to reach their plate. They can learn about food preparation, from harvesting to cooking.
Children who help to grow fruits and vegetables in a centre garden feel proud of their work and are more likely to try new foods. This can help them develop healthy eating habits that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Learning responsibility and patience
Gardening programs take work and time, which means that they can be a great way for children to learn about responsibility and patience.
Every day, children can help tend to a centre garden, watering plants and providing gardens with the nutrients they need to grow. Children need to wait patiently to see the results of their work, continuing to look after plants even before they can see the impact of their efforts.
The responsibility and patience children develop as part of childcare gardening programs can support them through other learning processes, helping them take the time to develop skills and understand new concepts.
Understanding academic concepts
Learning to garden can also help children with other educational programs! The concepts used in gardening can translate directly to classroom activities.
When helping to maintain a centre garden, children may need to use numeracy skills to count seeds, describe colours, and water plants. They may also need literacy skills to read instructions or learn the names of different plants. Gardening also includes many environmental science concepts.
Gardening allows children to learn academic concepts in an active way. The skills they develop can help them develop their understanding and engage with new classroom programs later on.
Improving social skills
Looking after a garden at childcare can also play a positive role in supporting children’s social development, helping them learn to work collaboratively with others.
Gardening programs provide children with opportunities to communicate with their peers and educators and work together with others. Children help each other to achieve positive results, enabling them to develop a sense of inclusion and community.
By building social skills in gardening programs, children can improve their ability to work as part of a team and help others, practising kindness and empathy.
Searching for a childcare centre with a great outdoor environment? Search MyXplor for good childcare centres near you, like Ave Maria Kindergarten in Aberfeldie!