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‘Nurture fresh thinking for a healthy world’

SHS Garden Journal Blog

Wonderful Water - Early Years Learing

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Seed harvest Spoon has been talking water with 3-5year olds at Early Childhood centres around Sydney this past month. These children understand how important water is to people and to our planet. When we put the question to them, “Is water important?” little hands shoot up and small voices shriek out “Yes!” 

In response to “Why is water important?” we are assured that people need to drink water every day, to keep healthy. Animals need water too (especially fish) and so do our plants. 

While we celebrate World Water Day during March, we are reminded that water really is a precious, limited resource that we need to think about daily. It is worth revisiting the statistic that of all the water on our beautiful blue planet, only 3% is freshwater, and of that only 1% is available as drinking water. This 1% is shared by the whole world. 

We really are fortunate in this country to have the luxury of clean fresh water at our fingertips, and it is something that we are all perhaps guilty of taking for granted. Travelling in other countries can really drive that message home, we find ourselves looking forward to getting home and not having to worry about buying or boiling our water. 

We can be more thoughtful with our usage in our day-to-day lives, and our preschoolers can lead the way. Don’t put off fixing that leaking tap! Put a timer in the shower, 3-4 minutes is ample time, any longer really is luxury. Think about pouring bathwater on the garden- this is a great one to do with the kids. Being mindful of water usage is a great start. 

Re-read “Tiddalik- the frog who caused a Flood.” We really don’t want to be the selfish frogs of the world.

Author: Natalie Er
Seed Harvest Spoon Education Leader
Copyright 2016: Seed Harvest Spoon Education Foundation Ltd.

Children's Activity - September

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Children’s Activity - The life of a Seed

Seeds can be found everywhere! Seeds come in different shapes and sizes, and are bursting to spring to life when the right conditions exist. Seeds can be found in pods, flower heads and fruits. Water and warmth are the perfect kick-start to the process of germination.

Observe seeds in the environment

When you next see a Dandelion Flower, watch it over a few days observing and documenting change over time. Notice the transformation from the bright yellow flower to a head full of seeds that disperse in the breeze to create new plants. When children blow the seeds to make a wish, let them know they are mimicking seed dispersal that occurs in nature with a breath of wind.

Strawberries are a favourite to observe, as they grow in our garden or in pots whilst you nurture the gift of patience. Children are so eager to pick a delicious strawberry as soon as they see a hint of red; their anticipation is harvested as they check on the fruit each day. Watch the fruit as it emerges from the flower – point out the tiny seeds. Protect the fruit from slugs and snails to avoid disappointment.

Take the time with your children to notice the different types of seeds found in our favourite fruits - Watermelon, Rockmelon, Apple, Pear, Banana, Tomato.  Identify the stages of life with children by matching the seed to its plant and fruit. 

Sprouts in the kitchen

While it is important for children to experience and observe delayed results as they occur in nature – it is also exciting for children to experience immediate results. This balance will create interest in exploring learning further. A great way to do this, whilst promoting healthy eating is by growing sprouts in a jar on your kitchen windowsill. Sprouts are a tasty and nutritious addition to your salad or sandwiches that and are easily grown.  They can be harvested about 6 days after planting. Tasty varieties include Radish, Fenugreek and Broccoli sprouts.

Sunflower Seeds

Children love the beauty of a sunflower. Its size, vivid yellow colour and abundance of seeds visible on the plant is a point of fascination for children.  The germination of a sunflower seed is the perfect way to demonstrate the complete life cycle of a plant from seed to new seed. Once the sunflower has matured and you are ready to collect its seeds – count how many seeds can be collected from one flower – you will be amazed! Save the seeds to start the growth process again.

Birds, Bees and other Garden Creatures

Growing plants from seed is extremely rewarding. Particularly when the seed has been saved from a mature plant in your garden. While we can give seeds a helping hand to grow by planting them in soil and nurturing them, teaching children the important role that birds, bees, other creatures and wind have in this process is invaluable. Pollination and seed dispersal are essential to the existence of living things for the production of food sources. The story of pollen collecting on the tiny feet of a bee as it feeds on nectar, dropping this on another flower that it stops at for another little feed; is a memorable way for young children to envisage this process.

A wonderful resource to further explore the potential of seeds is The Seed Savers’ Handbook by Michel & Jude Fanton.

Book Profile: Outdoor Classrooms - a handbook for school gardens by Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington

Friday, June 28, 2013

At the recent Learning in the Garden National Seminar QLD we had the pleasure to meet Carolyn Nuttall one of the authors of 'Outdoor Classrooms – a handbook for school gardens'. We felt very honoured – our discovery of Outdoor Classrooms several years ago set the scene for our own endeavour.

Outdoor Classrooms was the reference that ignited our enthusiasm and confidence as we embarked on our initial school garden project at our children's school. It is a trustworthy companion filled with ideas, inspiration and practical knowledge based on the experience of both authors Carolyn and Janet.  They have thought of every element needed to create an engaging learning environment for students.

The below quote from the book resonates with our journey and philosophy, as we are now several years down the track and have gained much knowledge and developed new skills while on a continual learning journey alongside the children that we work with. It is a new adventure every day.

“Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know everything. If you wait until you know everything you won’t ever start. Learning about the garden, the creatures and natural systems is a learning journey; an adventure. You just have to get going and learn as you go.”

Outdoor Classrooms is an excellent resource for teachers, students and anyone that is involved in starting a school garden or would like to learn more.  It supported our vision of creating a learning resource for the students and teachers that was not in addition to, or separate from curriculum learning outcomes. Instead the garden is a tool that integrates opportunities for practical hands on experiences to enhance holistic learning.

Permaculture ethics and principles are referenced through the text – this was another highlight for us that provided a further connection to the book, as Seed Harvest Spoon's philosophy is based on permaculture ethics, stewardship of the earth and community participation.

Email: to ORDER a copy of Outdoor Classrooms, $43.95 (GST inclusive).