Sharing the joy of a kitchen garden in EarlyWorks

An increasing number of services are embracing Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Program.  This was highlighted in this month’s edition of Early Childhood Australia’s Every Child magazine, where Rachel Konstantinou described the pedagogical and nutritional benefits of creating and nurturing a garden in her service.

In her article, Rachel pointed out how much the Kitchen Garden Program has to offer in terms of play based learning, connecting with nature, caring for the environment, sensory exploration, sustainability and most importantly enjoying the produce!

If you are thinking of introducing a kitchen garden or maybe you already have a thriving veggie patch, I have some good news for you.  All the wonder, learning, fun and engagement the Kitchen Garden brings, can be showcased and shared with families in EarlyWorks. 

  • Using Daily Communications:
    • Educators can share the menu with families. Then using the group notes associated with the menu, highlight where the food came from, the nutritional benefits of nutritious home grown produce, as well as the involvement of the children in the preparation of the food.
  • In the individual notes for each child share with families each child’s involvement in the preparation of food, willingness to try new foods, and discoveries of new tastes, textures and flavours.
  • Using the Green Extend button, turn these group and/or individual notes into observations to then inform the program and become part of the planning cycle.
  • Using Observations, Experiences and Journals:
    • Link the planned Kitchen Garden experiences, observations and journals to the EYLF, MTOP or alternative frameworks being used by the service.
    • Link Kitchen Garden Experiences, Observations and Journals to the QIP Evidence list. Brilliant evidence of QA 2.1.3 Healthy Lifestyle!
    • Include children’s responses, reactions, comments and questions in ‘The Voice of the Child’ in observations and journals.
    • Share all of the play-based learning that comes with a Kitchen Garden in Observations and Journals:
      • Children discovering where their food comes from
      • Children learning about how food grows
      • Learning knife skills and cooking skills
      • Experimenting with flavours
      • Developing positive relationships with food
      • Learning fun facts about food, for example that tomatoes are actually a fruit!
  • A picture tells a thousand words! Share images and videos of children engaged with the Kitchen Garden in observations, journals, comments, and rooms.

If you are already getting your hands dirty growing, harvesting preparing and sharing your kitchen garden, or are willing to give it a try, share the joy, fun and learning with families using EarlyWorks.

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