Preschool Agriculture: Teaching Children to Grow Their Own Food
We live in a digital age where connecting children to nature seems like an impossible mission. However, in some rural localities, professionals linked to early childhood promote preschool agriculture. In other words, they teach children to grow their own food.
In doing so, adults create pedagogical and innovative ways for the little ones to have a deeper and real contact with their natural environment. Something achieved through ideas that tend to merge urban agriculture with children’s education.
In this You Are Mom article, you’ll discover how a preschool agriculture project is implemented in educational institutions. You’ll also learn how to encourage children to grow food at home.
Preschool agriculture, the project
The preschool agriculture project offers three learning approaches. First, the understanding of nature. Second, the knowledge of techniques to grow your own food. And finally, learning the specific practice.
“We thought that children should enjoy nature. So we designed this unique school where there are no classrooms, but spaces where vegetables grow and animals are abundant. It’s a mix of both school and nature.” The educators who implement this natural educational project point out.
These educational institutions that fall within the methodology of preschool agriculture are specially designed as a set of buildings overlooking a variety of plots that make up the orchard, as well as livestock pens.
The idea is then to teach children to harvest their own food as well as how to interact correctly with the animals. This may well help them to improve their social skills through teamwork, also stimulating self-esteem and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Likewise, preschool agriculture could be very useful as students with this natural educational proposal learn about renewable energy in a specific place in the school, which is reserved purely and exclusively for wind turbines and solar panels.
Preschool agriculture: Why should it be mandatory?
Undoubtedly, both gardening and preschool agriculture is an artistic way of relating to the natural environment from a very young age. That’s why many Waldorf schools implement these programs with their students, betting on favorable experiences and results.
In these outstanding pedagogical institutions, you can find greenhouses that become the center of the school’s activity. This is because the children grow crops there. They can learn about the cultivation of carrots, spinach, kale, and other vegetables, including medicinal herbs.
“In spring our crops are abundant. We have strawberries, spring onions, parsley, and peas. We’re educating the children at the same time we’re growing plants. So only half of the space in the greenhouse is covered with growing beds,” Waldorf schools say.
In the process, the children learn the benefits of growing their own vegetables. The way in which a simple seed ends up becoming an edible food, as well as how to turn leftover food into compost. They also have a vermicomposter where, with the help of red worms, they get compost.
Activities to encourage agriculture at home
Do you want to encourage preschool agriculture in your own home, get in closer contact with nature, and encourage healthy eating habits? Here are some tips on how to make that connection–a connection between what they see on their plates and what they themselves grow in the soil.
This is a way to awaken love for nature and introduce kids to the agricultural universe. It’s possible to teach them resources and provide them with useful information to start planting plants and seeds and take care of them.
Cooking and nutrition
The connection between what they eat and what they grow can be achieved through dialogues about the origin of fruits and vegetables during each meal. In addition, you can give children a choice of the vegetables they want to eat. This way, they’ll feel that their nutrition is in their hands. Another option is to prepare activities in the kitchen for the child to work with foods that come from the earth.
Visit these centers with your children to meet the people who work in agriculture. They can also discover new foods. Show them the differences between products obtained at home, even those sold in supermarkets, and teach them to buy the ripest and freshest.
Stories and coloring books
These interesting coloring projects help in this mission. Children can be asked to draw plants, flowers, fruits, or animals from the countryside and color them. There are also stories and songs related to agricultural activity and related natural phenomena.
Without a doubt, preschool agriculture, whether at school or at home, awakens a certain love in the little ones. Love for what comes from the earth and admiration for the environment. It also produces in them values and skills that will shape them as people.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Aragón, M. S. M., & Ramírez, A. A. V. (2021). Efectos de un huerto escolar y talleres en la ingesta de comida saludable en preescolares. Revista Electrónica de Psicología Iztacala, 24(1), 325-346. https://www.medigraphic.com/cgi-bin/new/resumen.cgi?IDARTICULO=99441
- Bernal Henao, F., Ortiz Núñez, S., & Riso Soto, V. (2019). Agricultura urbana. https://repository.upb.edu.co/handle/20.500.11912/4488
- Zúñiga, A., Sántiz, A. R., López, H. R. S., Báez, M. M., Meléndez, C. H., Roque, A. C., … & Morales, H. (2017). Huertos que germinan desde preescolar hasta posgrado. Ecofronteras, 10-13. https://revistas.ecosur.mx/ecofronteras/index.php/eco/article/view/1733