Lori Bridges, a teacher with a 3-year-old classroom at New Hope Child Development Center in Gastonia is preparing for this year’s garden which has been in place for four years.
The garden consists of tomatoes, corn, cabbage, onions, green peppers, broccoli, beans, carrots and cucumber.
Each year they try to do something new. Last year was squash and this year they may add pumpkins so the garden can be enjoyed in the autumn.
The 185 children enrolled at the center love watching the seeds grow in the garden. They also enjoy having the corn at snack time.
“We’ve always wanted to plant seeds and wanted the children to see the seeds sprout, watch it grow and see what happens,” Bridges said.
The children don’t mind getting dirty. They enjoy helping to plant and water. Sometimes they even get to take home the vegetables to their families.
There is also a rose bush and marigolds, which are planted around the vegetables to help with bugs and insects.
Bridges said the garden teaches the children a lesson on gardening.
“If they learn how to do it now they will know it forever,” she said.
Some days the children walk out to the garden in the mornings to see the progress overnight. She said they get very excited.
Want to start a garden for your children? Here are some benefits:
It’s a pathway for better health right outside your door. Children are learning to eat fruit and vegetables early! This is a step towards healthy eating.
It’s therapeutic. Gardening can help relax children when they work in the soil.
It’s a fact — to eat something you produce is a worthwhile and meaningful thing.
Gardening teaches a child garden etiquette, such as where to walk on the soil. Later they can learn the consequences of good or poor care of watering, weeding and cultivating.
Want to learn more about the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties?
The Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties is your local Smart Start agency. You can reach us at 704-922-0900 or visit us online at www.pfclg.com. Our vision is a community where young children will reach their health and educational potential.
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Amy Wadsworth is Public Information Coordinator for the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties.