Little Gardeners

In late November, the toddlers at our Ginninderra Early Childhood Centre within the Belconnen Community Centre were excited to see what had come of the tiny seeds they had planted in August. After three months of caring, watering and sunshine, they were a bit disappointed to find that the seeds had not sprouted. 

But this didn’t get the Educators at GECC down; they still saw the learning opportunities in the situation. This was a chance to teach the toddlers about patience and questioning why things do or don’t happen. In group time, the children and Educators discussed what might have caused the seeds to not grow. Maybe the soil wasn't right, or was it the seeds themselves?  

Regardless of the cause, when asked if they would like to try again, there was a loud chorus of ‘Yes!’ from the little gardeners. 

We think that gardening is such a fun, physical way to learn about the natural world! It gives children a sense of responsibility, as plants require care and commitment in the forms of watering and weeding to thrive. Giving daily attention to our baby seeds and looking after them develops a sense of purpose and excitement. 

The tiny scale of the seeds also strengthens children’s fine motor skills, and gardening stimulates the senses, creating opportunities for children to experience different textures, scents, sights and sounds.  

So the GECC team got new vegetable and herb seeds, along with soil, paper cups and water. The children and Educators worked together to prepare the soil. Then, as they planted the seeds and labelled them, the Educators got the children to observe the different shapes, sizes and colours of the seeds and asked questions about the garden in general, like: 

  • What colour is the plant? 
  • Can you hear the crunch of the leaves?  
  • How do the leaves smell?  
  • How does the soil feel? 

Many of the children particularly enjoyed feeling the texture of the soil, especially the change from when it was dry to wet. Of course, they loved the messiest bit! 

To continue this learning opportunity, the team at GECC made a daily watering chart, where the children add a sticker each time they care for the seeds. We look forward to seeing how these plants develop over the coming months. 

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