Daycares offering gardening opportunities for kids are becoming more popular. If you have seen child care centres with gardens, you may be wondering what the advantages are. Here's how kids can 'grow' from planting seeds:
1. Gardening is great exercise
When a child care centre encourages its charges to garden, it gets kids moving. In order to plant seeds and pull weeds, they have to bend, crawl, squat and move. That activity can be essential, especially in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic.
As a bonus, if your child falls in love with gardening at the child care centre, he or she may continue with that active hobby for the rest of his or her life.
2. Gardening at day care teaches kids where food comes from
Another way gardening helps to fight obesity is by teaching kids about nutrition and where their food comes from. Studies indicate large percentages of children do not know simple facts about where milk, cheese, vegetables and fruits come from.
Child centre gardens show kids a close-up look at exactly how food grows. This education arguably can be as important as anything your child learns from playing with blocks or reading books.
3. Gardening instils a love of nature in children
Want to raise an environmentalist? Then you need a kid who gets his or her hands dirty. While playing and learning in the centre's garden, children engage with nature in a way that can help create a lifelong love of it.
A day care garden can help create a generation of kids committed to saving the planet and its many creatures.
4. Gardening makes people happy
If you get emotionally waylaid in thoughts about childhood obesity epidemics and animals going extinct, a bit of gardening can cheer you up. Some scientists claim that the bacteria in the dirt act as antidepressants, naturally improving a person's mood.
While your child hopefully is still carefree enough not to share those fears about the world, he or she could still use a boost of happiness, and gardening can provide that.
5. Gardening can cultivate a sense of responsibility
In many day care centres, young students pitch in and help with the work. Depending on the centre's policies, that help can take almost any form, from hanging up their own coats and bags, to putting up their chairs at the end of the day, to handing out snacks to other students, to sweeping the floor of the centre.
Gardening can also be a part of a day care centre's attempts to teach kids about responsibility. Kids quickly see how their efforts of watering and weeding can help plants to flourish. Programs at centres like One World Children’s Centre encourage children also to take responsibility for the environment as a whole.