The Fall Children’s Garden
There is no better way to learn about healthy eating and promote physical activity than by offering a children’s gardening curriculum. After a busy day of “virtual learning”, children at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, welcome the opportunity to just go outside and spread dirt, discover worms and other critters, laugh, plant seeds and water their project. Gardening activities help children develop an appreciation for fruits and vegetables as healthy meals and snacks; help children engage in moderate exercise; help children increase their self-confidence and competence; help children increase STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and analytic abilities, and promote, in children, positive mental health. Gardening is hard to beat for promoting well-rounded development in children.
With our partner, City Green, the Club began its fall planting season with a short video by “City Sprouts” Manager and Head Gardener, Liz Kleisner. (Since Liz cannot come to the Club because of COVID-19 restrictions, she pre-tapes all sessions). After reviewing the videos, children begin the lessons. The first lesson involved learning about cold weather crops, transplanting vs. seeding, how to water and amending the soil. Children prepped the garden beds for planting, (removing weeds, spreading compost/fresh dirt), followed by planting leafy fall greens, such as spinach, lettuce and kale. Children also planted radish seeds. The lesson ended with all beds thoroughly watered. Future lessons include apples and the apple taste test; all about leaves; the important role of birds in the garden; harvest the garden and seed saving and preparing the garden for winter. While some of these activities are not “gardening lessons”, they serve as lessons plans for when the weather is inclement.
Whether it is outdoors or indoors, we make sure that children who engage in gardening are harvesting a whole lot more that food and flowers.
About the Grantee
The Mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. For over 70 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton has provided targeted programs that help youth achieve academic success, good character and citizenship, and a healthy lifestyle.