Cockburn Central community garden blossoms
A community garden has blossomed at Goodstart Cockburn Central
, Western Australia, thanks to the hard work and commitment of the team of educators at the centre.
Featuring sustainable materials and practices, the garden, which has transformed an underused space within the carpark, is home to vegetables and herbs, all boosted by the help of castings from the worm farm.
Inspired by the book I Grow in Grandad’s Garden
by Brian and Ellie Andrew, it has a Think and Thank Chair, where children can reflect on their day.
The garden was built with a $1300 sustainability grant from the City of Cockburn and encourages the children to learn about growing food, saving water and composting food waste.
Centre director Wendy Cook said the grant went towards buying vegetable and herb plants, setting up the worm farm, building water tanks and ensuring the area was sustainable.
“We worked with other organisations including Communicare which built a bridge and mosaics which decorate the fruit tree pots, and Bunnings which helped with the selection and delivery of materials,” Ms Cook said.
The garden is part of the centre’s sustainability plan which was developed through attending Little Green Steps WA workshops.
Ms Cook said the children at Goodstart Jandakot were enthusiastic garden users who loved to visit and care for the plants.
“Some of the produce has been used for making salads at lunchtime, parents can pick herbs to take home in the afternoons and it provides a sensory space for the children to explore and experience.”
As a not-for-profit social enterprise, Goodstart Early Learning is committed to ensuring children have the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life.
“Teaching children about growing their own food and sustainability are important aspects of this commitment to Goodstart’s social purpose,” Ms Cook said.
“It’s also important to teach children the importance of taking time out to think and relax.”
The area is predominately a digital-free space which means educators look for non-digital ways to document what children have been doing, including children writing notes and making drawings about their time in the garden.
Chief gardener Beth Tailor, an educator at the centre, has planted tomatoes, snow peas, eggplants, capsicums, strawberries, silver beet, beetroot, rainbow chard and carrots, along with plenty of herbs including basil, coriander, aloe vera, stevia, peppermint and spearmint.
“It’s a great environment for our centre,” Ms Cook said.
“We haven’t had a backyard renovation and so we had to be creative about designing a space for the children and educators to enjoy.”