DVIDS – News – DSCC Child Development Center garden teaches children about science and cooperation


The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and the bumblebees were buzzing amid the cacophony of the small voices of seven pre-kindergarten classes as they took turns bringing their garden to life after a long winter sleep in front of the Center for Defense Supply Columbus’ Child Development Center June 8.

The garden serves as an experiential learning experience and is an extension of the classroom curriculum.

“The children, with the help of the teachers, tend to the garden by watering, pulling weeds and checking the progress of the growing elements,” said Tracy Charles, director of the DSCC Child Development Centre. “Teachers also have class discussions with children about what it takes for plants to grow, the life cycle of plants from garden to table, etc. Gardening encourages communication, builds social/emotional development, instills responsibility, and teaches children lessons about the importance of caring for the world around them.

This year’s garden includes cilantro, basil, parsley, peas, beans, pumpkins, zinnias and sunflowers. Cultured foods will be incorporated into meals and snacks prepared at the center.

Charles said caring for the garden is a center-wide project each year and is a joint partnership with DSCC’s Environmental Protection Division and the CDC.

“I really enjoy working with CDC staff,” said Nicole Goicochea, DSCC’s environmental division chief. “They’re all so committed to doing what’s best for the kids and we can easily find common ground there. The staff know that getting out into nature benefits children and I know that teaching them about the natural world will also greatly benefit the planet in the future.

The garden project is part of the Environment Division’s efforts to provide environmental education and awareness at the CDC, including incorporating it into Arbor Day celebrations and composting efforts.

Goicochea guided the children in groups of two and three through the planting process. They were first given the tools of the trade – gardening gloves and small shovels – then were introduced to the plant or seeds to be planted. Goicochea led them to the ideal spot for each plant and asked the children to dig a hole for their plant in the dirt.

Taking each plant out of its small starter pot and catching it before it fell to the ground proved to be the most entertaining activity for most of the participating children.

Goicochea would have one child jump the plant and the other grab it to teach teamwork and cooperation.

“Teamwork makes…” Goicochea said. “The dream job,” exclaimed a couple of children after planting a cilantro plant at the end of a row.
Another favorite activity was watering the plants from rainwater collected in two rain barrels placed on either side of the garden.

Goicochea said the two barrels were installed to capture water from the center’s roof to help reduce stormwater by reducing the first run of water into local waterways.

Several plants and seeds have been planted in wide rows so that children can walk around each one without trampling them as well as for redundancy in the garden as not all plants will survive the season. Plants grow at different rates and some succumb to disease or pests while others thrive. Children learn resilience by observing the behavior of plants from garden to harvest.

In addition to the day’s planting activity, the children learned all about insects and their role in the garden. Several earthworms were dug up during the planting process, bumblebees buzzed happily nearby, and several children were mesmerized by a roly-poly insect for several minutes while waiting for their turn to tend the garden. A child knew what the little insect was, shouting “Look! It’s a roly poly! The insect rolled up on itself several times under the observation of children.

Insects are really called woodlice, according to the Ohio State University Extension, and are beneficial to the garden because they break down decaying matter by eating it and then returning the nutrients to the soil.

Watch the video to see the kids repopulate their garden for the season.

Date taken: 16.06.2022
Date posted: 16.06.2022 11:49
Story ID: 423151

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