Getting your children to enjoy growing food, whether at home or at school, teaches them responsibility and deepens their appreciation of nature and all she has to offer. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
Getting your children to enjoy growing food, whether at home or at school, teaches them responsibility and deepens their appreciation of nature and all she has to offer. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Why children should have gardening as a school subject

By Terry van der Walt Time of article published Oct 26, 2020

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Almost every day I see a social media post pushing the idea that children should have gardening as a subject at school, and I couldn't agree more.

There are many schools in Mzansi that have vegetable gardens, which teach the kids about the ins and outs of what is needed for their seedlings to reach maturity so they can be picked. And there is nothing nicer for them to yank a carrot out the ground, wash it, and eat it right there and then!

Gardening also teaches them about responsibility, the importance of weeding, watering and being mindful of the nature around them.

In a world where children spend a lot of time indoors, playing on tablets, watching television, or being in the classroom, it becomes even more important to foster in them an interest in gardening.

According to Brighthorizons.com the most important thing about it is ensuring that your child or children have fun, and that it does not come across as a preachy lesson.

Give them a hand in deciding what they would like to grow, this is sure to stimulate their interest. Tiny tomatoes are a favourite among children, so that would be a good start.

Carrots and radish are also fun and easy to grow. Vegetables that have a long lead in to harvest, could discourage the young gardener, but it could also teach them that patience does pay off. Eventually.

Here they share five tips

* Start small, that way it is not too overwhelming. A window box would do just fine, or their “own” section of the garden that they look after.

* Give them the right tools. Every gardener needs a good quality set of tools, a child-sized shovel, hoe and garden gloves to get them growing.

* Cultivate good habits, like setting aside 20 minutes twice a week to tend to the garden, and then putting the tools away afterwards.

* Let the family eat the fruits of their labour, by letting them prepare a meal using tomatoes that they grew, or give some to grandma and grandpa when they visit.

* Visit a farm or farmer’s market, that way your children get a clearer picture of where food comes from, and deepens their appreciation of nature and all she has to offer.

Gardening4kids.com further advises making the patch a haven for wildlife, by creating a bird feeder or bird bath, and planting flowers that attract butterflies and birds, which is sure to make every gardening session an exciting adventure.

Read more content like this in the latest Simply Green digimag below.

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