EXPLORE YOUR WORLD DAYCARE New Maryland, New Brunswick

A LASTING HARVEST

WITH ITS CYCLES OF GROWTH AND DECAY, SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A VEGETABLE GARDEN CAN GO FAR IN RECONNECTING CHILDREN WITH NATURE.

A crew of apprentice gardeners lean over their plots, knee-deep in soil. As they clear a few weeds from a freshly planted row, they debate how much water their seedlings will need to sprout vegetables this summer.

It’s the kind of scene that perfectly illustrates what happens when children are given the chance to garden: not only are these apprentice growers active for hours on end, but also they learn how to tend to something small and delicate by sharing its care with others.

Such interactions are precisely what Judy Wilson-Shee had in mind when she started a community vegetable garden for children in New Maryland.

“We’re a happy bunch,” Wilson-Shee declares of Explore Your World Daycare, a community she has nurtured for over thirty years as an early childhood educator. And it’s not hard to tell why: as the children tend to their plots, they are discovering what it means to combine their efforts, to sustain a project over time, and ultimately to share in the rewards of their labour.

For children raised in urban environments, the sense of wonder that results from witnessing a seedling break through soil is also rare and empowering.

Over the years, Wilson-Shee has come to appreciate that the benefits of cooperative learning flow both ways.

“We really can learn from our children,” she remarks, observing that the experiences children have at a young age can stay with them into adulthood.

In both gardening and teaching, she adds, “you always have to be positive.”

ANOTHER GREAT DAY IN THE GARDEN

Watch as an afternoon of adventure unfolds in New Maryland.

New Maryland, NB, Canada

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