23 Feb Helping children form positive food habits for life
Even more kitchen and garden goodness in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood
Perfect for little hands and curious minds, the Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood is a play-based, hands-on program that helps teach children about fresh, seasonal, delicious food.
Setting up the program is as unique as each service is – from moveable kitchen trolleys and edible plants in small pots, to a fully serviced kitchen and raised garden beds – anything is possible.
As well as teaching little ones basic mixing and kneading, planting and harvesting, valuable lessons about collaborating and sharing are taught, along with discussions of the natural world and sustainable practices. For services, it’s a chance to grow community too, with plenty of opportunities for volunteering, guest visitors and local business collaborations.
Importantly, the Program also supports the implementation of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) National Quality Standard (NQS) and links pleasurable food education to outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
The program is a working toolbox that is constantly opened and expanded upon in every room, every day. It reminds us to “never underestimate the palate of a child” and to support the cautious eater into becoming a curious eater.
–Julie Lemmon, Food Education Leader, Clarendon Children’s Centre
With over 100 early childhood services across the country experiencing the joy and benefits of the Program with a Kitchen Garden Classroom membership, they will soon be invited to take up a more extensive tier of membership: Kitchen Garden Program membership.
The learning possibilities are endless out in the garden and in the kitchen. Children are given the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiences where they will develop understandings of sustainability, literacy, numeracy, science and art and learn lifelong skills through meaningful learning experiences that will stay with them throughout their lives.
–Rachel Konstantinou, Hawthorn Early Years
A Program membership allows early childhood services to delve further into their kitchen garden experience. According to Foundation Projects Manager, Natasha Grogan: “It enables services to work towards a best-practice Kitchen Garden Program while still nurturing the unique settings, shapes and sizes of early childhood services Australia wide.”
This membership provides a service’s kitchen garden team – whether educators, parents or volunteers – with the support and tools they need to embed the program and nurture long-term benefits. The service is supported to run a consistent program and ensure program sustainability, even with new team members. Through the Foundation team and their individualised guidance, the program framework, educational resources and new online support tool, Trellis, children can continue to learn and grow along with their garden.
Of course, new members are always welcomed, and whatever membership level, children are guaranteed to thrive alongside the goodies in the garden.
To find out more about the Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood, visit the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation site.
A Kitchen Garden membership equips educators with an adaptable program framework, comprehensive resources, personal guidance and professional development to establish and grow their own unique kitchen garden. The benefits to children are enormous, and for services the program can build community and social cohesion.