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Edible garden leading the way

Goodstart centres

Sharing home-grown food with the children and families of the centre was the aim of Goodstart Middle Park’s educators when they created an edible garden.

Centre Director Pam Zagami said the educators wanted to share with the children and families their love of growing healthy food by creating conversations around the topic.

“We discovered in the early days that many children don’t understand the concept of growing vegetables and thought they were just something bought at the shops,” Ms Zagami said.

“Sustainability is a large part of our curriculum in the kindergarten room, so by giving the older children the right tools they are able to help teach the younger children all about the garden and plants.”

The team bought raised garden beds, pots, soil, fruit trees and vegetable seedlings. Some of the educators brought plants from their homes to help establish the outdoor areas.

“With everyone on board we have been able to establish a flourishing garden and we’re able to use the vegetables in our meals that are prepared at the centre. That is, if we can get to the vegetables in time. The children have been known to pick a leaf or a bean off on the way through the garden.”

Ms Zagami said conversations in the vegetable garden were now a common occurrence and the children had become investigators, checking the garden for pests, seeing what was flowering and what could be eaten.

“We are now in to our third rotation of crops, and our vines and trees have begun to flower and bear fruit. The children are becoming very competent and at understanding when something is ready for harvest,” Ms Zagami said.

“They also really enjoy sharing the things they grow with our centre cook to add to our delicious menu.”

The team at Middle Park also have a turtle called Frankie, who was adopted from the RSPCA, and who loves going for a walk through the garden every Friday. Frankie is a Murray River Turtle who spends her time swimming in her tank and sunning herself in the playground and gardens. 
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