MILLICENT’S youngest green thumbs have watched their knowledge grow while digging into food education at Gladys Smith Early Learning Centre.
As part of the Stephanie Alexander’s kitchen garden program, the centre has focused on growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh and seasonal food with the aim of forming positive life long food habits.
Funded by the centre’s parent committee, the program is guided by educators Sandi Spink and Ellie Sullivan, with both attending training with the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden foundation in Adelaide earlier this year.
Centre director Clara Walker said she was excited about the learning opportunities the program provides.
“The educators will be integrating aspects of food education into the curriculum across all three rooms of the centre,” she said.
“It is perfect for the early learning environment.
“Play-based learning in the garden and the kitchen offers endless possibilities to reinforce literacy, numeracy, science, cultural studies and even environmental sustainability, where we can teach the importance of reuse and recycling.
“The children have been planting and caring for many varieties of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.
“When they harvest, they will learn to prepare and taste fresh healthy foods, or alternatively to share them with their community.
“They all love digging, watering, picking, collecting, cutting, mixing and tasting.
“These hands-on sensory experiences are what helps to foster a love of gardening and cooking with fresh seasonal produce and ultimately has a positive impact on the food choices the children make, now and into the future.”