Age Groups: 0-7
School: Bentons Square Preschool
Grant Sponsor: Woolworths
Bentons Square Preschool, located in Mornington, Victoria, decided to establish raised vegetable garden beds. These would give children the opportunity to learn about and implement sustainable food production, composting and healthy eating.
After securing a Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant in 2018, Community Kinders Plus children and parents got together to plan and plant the new vegetable garden. They also took responsibility for the ongoing care of the garden, which included weeding, harvesting and using by-products from the composter and worm farm.
The whole preschool community benefited from the new garden. Thanks to the experience of growing their own produce, the children became ‘food adventurers’ and enjoyed eating the produce as a way of taking care of their own health. They also connected with the broader Kinder community to share what they had learnt from the food garden. This gave them the opportunity to advocate more widely for the importance of a healthy, balanced diet.
The project included a focus on waste reduction and resource efficiency. Minimal waste went into the composter and wormery, and excess produce was donated to vulnerable families in the preschool community. Preschoolers collected the worm “wee” for the garden, adding valuable nutrients back into the soil.
The Bentons Square children will continue to plant new vegetables each season, in the raised beds.
The food garden was a wonderful opportunity for hands-on learning about sustainability. The children learned how to grow vegetables and gained observation skills – noting changes in the compost over the period of a few months. This gave them the chance to discuss food waste, discovering where rubbish ends up and the impact it has on the Earth. They saw the relationship between sustainability and a healthy world for us to all live in.
The children also learnt about the importance of healthy eating for our bodies. This included an exploration of where our food comes from, with a trip to their local Woolworths to show where our food ends up at the end of its production chain.
The Benton Square Preschool children take great pride in caring for their vegetables. Their favourite part of the experience was sharing the planting and watering with their peers: connecting with each other as they shared an interest in the progress of the garden. However, they particularly loved using the gardening tools and wearing gloves.
"It was wonderful watching children be ‘food adventurers’ trying new vegetables, experiencing different tastes and textures, which they might not have done if they hadn't experienced growing food for themselves.” Bentons Square Preschool teacher.