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Gardening + Fun = Learning!

Fourth column from our ‘Gardening with Kids’ expert and Nashville State School Prep Teacher, Sue McKenzie

We love to learn in the garden at our school. As well as the well documented health benefits of growing our own produce and enjoying the physical activity of gardening, we learn in lots of other less obvious ways. We read the instructions on seed packets and seedling tags to know how and where to plant our little plants. We write signs so that our plants are labelled and our gardens decorated.

We learn to understand concepts of time when we read how long it will take for our plants to produce or flower. It also helps us to learn patience! We have to use our skills in measurement to plant at correct distances and to monitor our rain gauge.

When we harvest we count what we have collected and marvel at how one plant can produce so much.  In the area of science we observe life cycles and how eco-systems of plants and animals work together. In geography we draw maps of our gardens to plan our planting. Gardening plus fun definitely equals learning!

At home you can also celebrate learning with your child through your garden. Buy some plants, read the instructions, write a sign, measure growth, count flowers or fruit, or even follow a recipe to cook something with your produce. Join in the fun and your child will be learning in no time!

P.S. Unfortunately we had a setback in growing our giant pumpkins. The humidity at the time was so great that our pumpkins succumbed to mildew. Never mind, we will try again soon now the air is drier. We are learning persistence and resilience. Another lesson learnt in our garden!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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