How young is too young to learn to garden?
It could be the question one is forced to ask after watching three- and four-year-old Nursery students at the Ellerton Primary School grab a wheelbarrow, fork, and watering can in hand and march diligently to their makeshift garden on the school compound.
Principal Donna Allman happily remarked at the fact that there were a number of “backyard garden” plots around the school being used to teach children about gardening and growing what they eat.
But it was Nursery class teacher Lisa Greenidge, assisted by fellow teacher Shari Nurse, who got especially excited about her green finger tiny tots.
She said it started with an integration of subjects, teaching children how each of the topics they were doing related to each other and tied back into the theme for the year, I Am A Proud Barbadian.
“So when we started gardening, we did a class on the process of preparing beds and the seeds, and we got the parents involved in securing and donating the seeds that the children would plant,” she explained.
“A lot of people would look at it and think that it is the teachers doing the work, but the children have been there and doing everything from the very beginning. They would have been involved in the preparing of the beds and the seeds and the transplanting of the seeds. The whole idea is to teach them about sustainability and about being able to grow what they eat and vice versa,” said Greenidge.
The nursery class teacher added that they had also selected plants so that in six to eight week – by the end of the school term- the 21 students involved would be able to harvest and even take home what they had planted.
The gardens – one created from plastic cans cut in half, and another pyramid garden from halved pipes – have beans, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, chives, red lettuce to name a few items.
“We set up a number of buckets around the school over the last few weeks when we had a lot of rain to catch some of that water. It is all about sustainability and water conservation, so we use that to water the gardens,” she said. (LB)