Tiny thumbs are turning green across Lake Macquarie as a Council program introducing children to gardening and sustainability takes root.
Council’s Lake Macquarie Family Day Care has teamed up with the Landcare Resource Centre at Teralba to rotate groups of children aged 2-5 through basic skills like planting, watering and plant care.
Landcare Coordinator, Jason Harvey said participants were also learning about native plants and their importance as habitat and food sources for local wildlife.
“This program gives kids at a very early age the chance to interact with the natural environment,” he said.
“They’re caring for their garden and having those learning experiences within a working nursery, which gives them the opportunity to see what that looks like in ways a one-off excursion wouldn’t give.”
Mr Harvey added that teaching children even basic elements of gardening could have lasting benefits.
“Teaching children that they can have a positive impact on the natural environment helps them develop resilience and hope in the face of climate issues, which benefits communities as a whole,” he said.
Family Day Care Coordinator, Sandra Cornwell said the response from participating children had been universally positive.
“They often ask when they’re going again in between visits,” she said
Plans are already underway to expand the program in 2023, with educators who can’t travel to the Landcare centre set to include gardening and sustainability education in their ongoing activities.
“We’ve also had discussions with Landcare and Council’s Ageing and Disability team about the idea of an intergenerational garden, where educators and children will visit and work alongside people involved in the over-55s program,” Ms Cornwell said.