THE GREENHOUSE PROJECT
Gardening with children at home or in child-care programs is an open door to teaching foundational life skills by engaging children in hands-on learning and exploration. The FOCUS Youth Center Greenhouse Project will assist our youth in gaining: a sense of responsibility, observation skills, self-confidence and communication, to help them to prepare for challenges in their future. By daily viewing of the ecosystem in a garden, children are able to witness first hand the process of growth and change, which enables them to anticipate and be patient, rather than expecting immediate gratification.
Teachers and parents can extend children’s learning from gardening by reading books and watching videos about nature. Children will be able to express their gardening experiences by talking, writing and drawing. Pictures from recycled calendars and seed catalogs are colorful, and their photos can be displayed or used to make collages or growth charts. Fruits and vegetables further learning when children locate seeds, peelings and other plant parts while they eat.
Children will learn to cultivate their own food to share at home and grow flowers to plant throughout the community. They have the opportunity to study basic nutrition and learn how each part of the plant we ingest has a purpose within our vessels. Youth and Parents will gain knowledge about GMO’s, organic vs. non-organic, which plants purify and clean the air in our homes and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
These fundamental concepts promote active learning, environmental responsibility, trust and self-confidence in children. It encourages youth to use their hands to prepare the soil, apply fertilizer, sow seeds, remove competing weeds, add water and harvest the crop. These practices are necessary for a plant to grow to its full potential and produce food.
CHILDREN WILL LEARN AND OBSERVE HOW:
weather affects plants
soil, water and sunshine interact
gardeners cope with plant problems
butterflies, bees, worms living in the soil and other insects play a role
When our youth accept these responsibilities, we help them to become more caring individuals. In the event that children experience the loss of plants because of neglect, they learn the tragedies of improperly caring for the plants. Through these real-life lessons in gardening, children develop an appreciation for the value of responsibility and life. Over time, evidence of their hard work will unfold before their eyes in the garden and classroom.
Gardening is a great way for parents, teachers and youth to spend quality time together. Imperative communication channels are opened as an adult explains the natural processes that occur as plants grow and produce food. The lessons learned and experiences shared in this program will provide vital skills that our youth can carry on into adulthood.