Learning in the Garden: Cultivating Young Minds in an Early Years Setting

Learning in the Garden: Cultivating Young Minds in an Early Years Setting
Learning Early Years Primary Weekly Highlights

In today's fast-paced world, where technology often dominates our lives, it is essential to create spaces where young children can reconnect with nature and learn through hands-on experiences. At the Alice Smith School, our commitment to holistic education encourages learning both indoors and outdoors in our Reception Early Years setting. In this blog post, we will explore the incredible benefits of learning about plants, vegetables, and fruits in the garden, and how our newly established vegetable patch has become a catalyst for exploration, creativity, and culinary adventures. 

Child Development and Learning through Plants: 

Research consistently demonstrates that exposure to nature and gardening positively impacts child development. Exploring plants, vegetables, and fruits provides children with opportunities to engage their senses, develop fine motor skills, and enhance cognitive abilities. By caring for living organisms, children learn responsibility, patience, and empathy, all essential life skills.

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The Arrival of our Vegetable Patch: 

Excitement filled the air in Reception when Term 3 brought us our very own vegetable patch. With great enthusiasm, the children eagerly embraced their roles as young gardeners, getting their hands dirty and learning about the life cycle of plants. Under the guidance of our dedicated teachers, they discovered the magic of watering plants, removing snails, trimming tomato stems and patiently waiting for the first signs of growth.

Caring for Vegetables, Plants, and Fruits: 

Our young gardeners quickly realised that nurturing plants requires time, effort, and dedication. From watering to weeding, they learned the importance of providing sunlight, nutrients, and protection for healthy plant growth. As the plants flourished, so did the children's confidence and sense of achievement.

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Inspiring Culinary Adventures:

The sight of their thriving vegetable patch ignited the children's curiosity about the flavours and possibilities that awaited them. Guided by their teachers, the children ventured into the world of cooking, transforming their garden harvest into delicious creations. From homemade pesto to flavourful baba ghanoush, bruschetta bursting with freshness, delicious mint tea and roasted okra that delighted their taste buds, the children savoured the fruits of their labour.

Expanding Horizons: 

The experience of growing and cooking their food opened new doors for our young learners. Many of them tasted vegetables they had never tried before, discovering new favourites along the way. The joy of experimenting with ingredients and flavours inspired the children to engage in writing activities, such as creating shopping lists for the garden and writing invitations to their peers, and even other educators to join them in their cooking adventures.

A Team Effort: 

The success of our garden-based learning program would not have been possible without the involvement of various individuals. We extend our gratitude to our guest chefs, including our teacher librarian, Mrs Lyford, our lead caterer, Mr Azahari, and our head chef, Bob. Their expertise and willingness to share their knowledge and skills have enriched the children's learning journey and created lasting memories.

At the Alice Smith School, we firmly believe in the power of outdoor education and the transformative impact it has on children's development. Learning in the garden, exploring plants, vegetables, and fruits, has provided our 4 and 5-year-old students with a wealth of experiences. Through caring for their vegetable patch, experimenting with cooking, and engaging in writing activities, the children have not only expanded their palates but also fostered a deeper connection with nature and a lifelong love for learning.

By nurturing their young minds in the garden, we are sowing the seeds of knowledge, creativity, and environmental stewardship that will accompany them on their educational journey and beyond.

Lauren Ebsworth
Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching