Planting Seeds of Love
Gardening to Promote Social & Emotional Learning
Gardening has many benefits to the flowering of young children's social and emotional development. Participating in the process of gardening from soil preparation to picking the "fruits" of their labor evokes so many of the character qualities that culminates in social-emotional maturity including: responsibility, cooperation, diligence, patience, caring, creativity, determination, and being thorough.
Having a small garden accessible to children in early childhood programs, whether in the classroom or a designated outdoor plot, invites them to engage in each step involved in growing plants, whether fruits, vegetables, or flowers.
Children greatly enjoy learning the hands-on procedures in gardening from 'working the dirt', planting seeds, watering, and weeding; to eventually, picking and enjoying what they've grown.
Extensions to the practical learning include: having the children keep a journal (dictated and with their own drawings) to track the progress of their plantings; or following the continuing journey fruits and vegetables take once they leave the garden, through books, videos, or a field trip to see how it is processed from garden, to factory, to markets or restaurants, to the table for people to eat and enjoy!
The garden also furnishes built-in lessons in the scholastic areas of: concepts-colors, recognition and selection; math-counting, measuring, sequencing and order; science-life-cycles of plants, and eco-conservation. Gardens offer a special delight to the five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting!
Growing flower seeds requires: pots or boxes, soil, seed, water, and sunlight. Instructions: add approximately 6 cups of soil in a flower pot container burying the seeds, and water every day, placing the flower pot where the sun shines on it .