A Vegetable Garden Installation to Promote Life-Skills

Albany Community Kindergarten, WA

Alex Leighton, Lily Rogers, Emma Roth and Matilda Wallam with a sample of the vegetable

Mathematics can be a challenge at any stage of life, for under-fives however what better way to improve your counting, measuring and grouping skills than with a brand new vegetable garden.

With a Coles Junior Landcare grant, two 100 litre compost tumblers, soil and plants were bought for the new fruit and vegetable patch in the Albany Community Kindergarten, Western Australia.

Many people from the wider community stepped up to help out, from parents installing raised beds to wheelbarrow-bearing High School students, with everyone enjoying being part of the venture.

The Junior Landcarers learnt how to weed the garden, identify different edible flora and water plants to keep them healthy and strong. Compost from the bins was well rotated by student volunteers and helped reduce school waste by 75%. It also helped boost plant growth, including that of two beautiful passion fruit vines. Harvested produce provided tasty morning tea with juicy fruit, and cooked lunches had vegetables including not one, but two varieties of mushroom!

At the end of the year students took home school-grown strawberry plants, giving everyone an opportunity to enjoy fruit which can be grown easily in the local Albany area. On a more personal level, the hands-on approach gave students a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility towards their precious surroundings.

The vegetable garden introduced the children to a delicious variety of leafy, root and fruiting vegetables. Skills in the curriculum were also helped by the vegetable patch as the students learnt about fresh food, healthy living and diet.

On top of this, the Kinder-gardeners grew in confidence, distinguishing the many tastes, colours, shapes and smells of the plant-life grown. Together the group benefitted from team-work, good communication and safety skills which could only be provided by a hands-on and enthusiastic team.