“We are curious. We learn by doing. We like to play in dirt….”
If we could read the mind of a child, this would likely be a common theme amongst the thoughts of our littlest learners.
There are many ways for children to learn through practical means, and everyone knows that dirt is naturally attracted to children… so why gardening?
Over years of research and careful observation of the benefits of teaching children to garden, educators; parents and scientists have found an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the educational and developmental benefits
of teaching children to develop their gardening skills.
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Can you recall the first time you smelled freshly cut grass? Or the first time summer rain pulled at your nostalgia of childhood? Let’s not forget the smell of spring settling into the morning air. Somehow these moments of sensory information sent to our brains, which we probably never paid the slightest attention to at the time, are now reminders of what it felt like to be a child. The awe and wonder that filled our minds about the world around us.
For a young child, working in a garden can provide more learning opportunities that we can write in a single article. But for the sake of understanding the importance of it, let’s begin with the bountiful sensory experiences that contribute to enhanced body awareness and development.
That feeling of cold soil embedding itself under their nails, the smell of clean fresh compost as it is churned with the soil about to be seeded.
What about the lesson of patience? The young child is naturally impatient and as parents and educators, we often find ourselves exhausted by demanding that a child wait in line for their turn, keep their hands to themselves before grabbing food from the table, or stop interrupting a conversation with seemingly unimportant questions.
There is huge value in a child watching the process of a fruit or vegetable start from a seedling and bloom into something edible. Imagine their curiosity, their pride and their joy in enjoying the fruits of their labour! In this process, we delve deep into the very essence of childhood, and the tangible lesson that is provided in this process is invaluable.
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In the heat of the desert, and with the high rate of urban apartment living in Dubai, not everyone has the means to grow their own garden. At Zaya Early Learning Center we aim to bridge the gap between urban living and self-sustainability. What better way to share our space, reach the community and aid in the understanding of self-sustainability than to introduce our Seedlings program. An after-school gardening program allowing children and their families to grow their own gardens while learning about the fundamentals of gardening. We provide the space and the curriculum. Families who enrol in the program do so on the basis that this is their garden and their responsibility.
For more information on Zaya Early Learning’s Seedlings program please contact them on 04 344 5898