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Creating gardening playspaces in Early Learning environments

Vegepod kits provide the perfect introduction to gardening and come complete with lesson plans that align with the EYLF.

Written by: Early Educational Advisor - Jo Harris  

 Letting Children Get Their Hands Dirty has multiple benefits

For many young children, exploration is most fun when they are engaged with the materials they are using. Getting covered in dirt is an opportunity to connect with nature in its most authentic essence.

Digging deeper into a mud patch offers a sense of both curiosity and satisfaction. Imagining where the holes in the ground may lead is a common play theme, as is the wonderment of comprehending a wider world beyond the playground.

Creating a mud patch is an essential element of growth and development in its own right, as children gain strength and competence in their large motor skills by practicing with the tools they are provided with. 

Although some digging takes place within the confines of a sandpit, there is a freedom associated with that which happens in a mud patch. Creating mounds of dirt that set up spaces for channels and pathways is essential for the explorers of the group. Covering these over can be important to develop a sense of closure and completion. 

Observing educators using adult-sized tools, children can benefit from the experience and infectious nature of seasoned gardeners with their customised items. When they are provided with an opportunity to use their child-size version, it inspires confidence in their ability and willingness to participate.

The Joys of Planting Your Garden

Getting dirty is more than just the physical result of toiling the earth. It is also about the freedom of losing track of time but gaining focus on being in the present moment. Following a few key steps, getting started, and committing to the ongoing process is straightforward.

Equally important, any child who prefers to keep their hands clean can become involved in other roles related to caring for the garden and enjoying being part of the process. Alternative resources can include planting Sphagnum peat discs that require no soil and leave no mess and setting up spaces that inspire gardening through imaginative play but incorporate many linked physical activities. 

Vegepod Raised Garden Beds container garden kits provide the perfect introduction to gardening for children - children learn through playing and growing and come complete with a booklet and instructions for planting with detailed lesson plans that align with the National Quality Standards (NQS) and Early Years Learning Frameworks (EYLF). 

The first task is to set up the Vegepod, which can include assigning children various roles and emphasising teamwork to construct the framework. The ‘Kindygarden Program' educator booklet has five sequential lessons that provide detailed instructions for each stage of the process.

Some prompts support reflective thinking processes for children by implementing the steps through group times. This could be an excellent opportunity for children to draw or practice their emergent communication skills by providing a whiteboard and markers to assist in problem-solving ideas and sharing their thoughts.

Once the soil has been prepared and the seeds planted, the children may predict the results they could record through activities like painting or drawing. It may prompt their anticipation through conversations at the snack table or during outdoor play when cooking at the mud kitchen with other natural materials to convey the produce they are waiting to harvest. 

Assigning and rotating the different roles to children to include them in this part of the activity encourages them to consider the required effort and strengthen their human relationships, which require tending in much the same way!

Grow you good thing! 

The Vegepod is made to suit young children’s height, with an option to raise it onto a Garden Bed Trolley, making it easy to move around the garden to capture the right amount of sunlight for optimal growth. With lockable wheels, educators can feel confident that it is safe to leave in the elements once positioned. 

After your new seedlings have been planted into the Vegepod, protecting them from the elements, including bugs and other pests, with a Garden Cover is essential. Made from lightweight permeable mesh, it allows the right combination of light and air to circulate while protecting the precious and rapid new growth.  

Although the Vegepod is self-watering, the unit is comfortable for children to nurture the plants with a light sprinkle with a watering can tipping the cover back with ease. 

Reaping the Harvest of What Has Been Sown

Providing gloves and other tools for children to harvest their crops is a significant step in the process when they collect the produce they have been caring for. There are lots of opportunities to plan which recipes to make and enjoy. 

This activity can easily lead to others in which children show interest in caring for other areas of the garden and outdoor space. Having items like the Vegepod offers year-round experiences, extending children’s thinking and awareness of life cycles through gardening. 

For more ideas to support children and develop their sense of belonging through play, please visit Bellbird's Educator Resources Page


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