by Sara Gilliam, Nature Explore Consultant
“Wow, you girls really love lettuce,” Dimensions Early Education preschool teacher Cindy Heinzman laughed as a half dozen preschoolers fluttered around the Nature Explore Classroom’s raised planter beds. Scissors in hands, they snipped and sampled several varieties of leafy greens.
“Who needs pineapple today? We’re having an outside morning snack right now,” observed Cindy’s co-teacher Candace.
For an age group whose members are often defined by what they won’t eat—and let’s be honest, green vegetables often rank high on the “no way” list—preschoolers at Dimensions Early Education Programs seem remarkably enthusiastic about fresh-from-the-earth produce. In their outdoor classroom they’ve planted greens, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers.
Perhaps their openness to these fresh snacks stems from their participation in all stages of the gardening process. It could be that daily exposure to new and healthy foods has slowly opened their minds. After all, if you’re surrounded by peers and educators who are dedicated to growing edibles, you’re bound to become curious.
Or, maybe they just love lettuce.
For quick tips on gardening with children download the free Environmental Action Kit, and read Gaia’s Garden for effective ways to incorporate the principals of permaculture into your Garden Area.