We will be talking about things that grow this week and things in the garden next week. Watching things that grow in the garden is a great visual for your child to see something that grows quickly.
This week we will talk about how babies grow -- baby birds, little bugs and how they have grown into 'big kids' now. Children love to look at baby pictures of themselves and of their family. They see themselves as "big" and like to point out all the babies they see at the park or on a walk. Teaching your child empathy gives them an opportunity to develop a caring attitude for all living things. Children can start to show empathy as early as age two.
A great way to learn empathy is to care for pets, things that live in nature and plants. A simple garden helps them see how things grow, how they can help something grow and how what they do is connected to an outcome. They plant a seed, it grows with the help of them watering it and caring for it. Once it grows into a mature plant they can enjoy the harvest of tomatoes, strawberries, carrots and lettuce. It is a visual way to see the outcome of their actions.
Children need to connect with nature. A growing body of evidence indicates that contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep. I agree with this statement by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. It is so important for the children to be outside, in a safe environment, where they can explore the world around them.
Gardening and nature based play go hand in hand. While gardening with children we are promoting play that is:
Learner centered – it is set around and for the learner
Hands on – promotes sensory based play
Inclusive – connect children of all cultures, ages, skills and abilities
Social – promotes interaction and communication between children and adults
Emotionally safe – builds self-esteem and pride
Physical development – fine and large motor skills are used
Integrative – blends math, science, language, reading, 5 senses, and creativity
– allows opportunities to create artistic pieces, as well as, and enjoy colors, shapes,
smell and nature.
Gardening gives opportunities to develop empathy, curiosity and responsibility as they become aware of the physical world outside while they care for the plants and animals living in our world. Gardening is a wonderful way to teach children to nuture things that grow, for them to watch as their needs grow into plants and to feel pride as they become a caretaker of a living thing.
Enjoy gardening with your child!